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14 December 2022, 13:52

Bill on amendments to Electoral Code passes first reading in Belarus

MINSK, 14 December (BelTA) – The bill “On amendments to the Electoral Code of the Republic of Belarus” passed the first reading at the sitting of the ninth session of the House of Representatives of the seventh convocation, BelTA has learned.

The bill “On amendments to the Electoral Code of the Republic of Belarus” was presented by Director of the National Center for Legislation and Legal Research Vadim Ipatov. The bill was submitted to the House of Representatives by the president on 6 December 2022.

The bill was drafted in accordance with Paragraph 2 of the 2022 bills preparation plan approved by a presidential decree on 23 December 2021. The Electoral Code will be brought into line with the updated Constitution as provided by Paragraph 2 of Action Plan No. 11/17 on bringing laws in compliance with the constitutional amendments adopted at the national referendum on 27 February 2022. The action plan was approved by the prime minister, the head of the Belarus President Administration, the chair of the Council of the Republic, the chairman of the House of Representatives on 22 April 2022. In addition, the adjustments to the Electoral Code are aimed at aligning it with Law No. 124-Z “On amendments to the Constitution of the Republic of Belarus” as of 12 October 2021, Law No. 175-Z

“On Public Service” as of 1 June 2022, Presidential Decree No. 7 “On amendments to the decree of the President of the Republic of Belarus” of 8 November 2021, and other legislative acts.

“The purpose of drafting the bill is to bring the Electoral Code into line with the updated Constitution, to adjust it taking into account the current state of the electoral process in the Republic of Belarus and the existing practices in holding elections and referendums, as well as to harmonize its provisions with other legislative acts, to eliminate gaps and legal uncertainty on certain issues,” said Vadim Ipatov.

According to him, the latest amendments to the fundamental law had an impact on all stages of the electoral process. “The formation of the highest representative body - the Belarusian People's Congress - has been spelled out, the term of work of representative bodies has been extended to five years, requirements for candidates seeking to run for presidency have been toughened, certain restrictions related to participation in elections have been removed, institutions supervising the constitutionality and legitimacy of elections have been introduced, approaches to holding elections of deputies and establishing election commissions have been revised,” Vadim Ipatov said.

“The bill on amending the Electoral Code was considered at a meeting hosted by the head of state. It was approved by and large by the Council for Legal and Judicial Activities under the President of the Republic of Belarus, the Expert Council under the Council of the Republic, and agreed in the prescribed manner with respective government agencies. Public debate was held to discuss the bill. The participants of the discussion assessed the proposed changes to the electoral legislation as relevant and complete,” said Vadim Ipatov.

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