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Authorities fear election boycott  ? 57

7:31, — Politics

Authorities fear election boycott

The law on amendments to the electoral legislation took force on December 8.

The document was signed by Lukashenka on November 27.

Under the law, parliamentary elections will be held in one round, and calls to boycott elections will be banned.

This amendment is based on the practice of holding parliamentary elections, which, for rare exceptions, didn't need a second round, head of the Central Election Commission (CEC) Lidzia Yarmoshyna said. She emphasised the amendment wouldn't be applied to presidential elections that would be held in two rounds.

Yarmoshyna proposed to forbid calling for the breakdown, cancellation or postponing elections or referendums. It [a ban on boycotting] was caused by the negative practice of carrying out election campaigns by certain candidates, she said noting that it was widely used during the latest election campaigns. The CEC head said the ban on calling for a boycott would be applied to all participants of the electoral campaign.

The CEC head noted that the amendments to the electoral legislation didn't fully comply with the OSCE/ODIHR requirements.

The latest election campaign, which was boycotted by a part of the opposition, was marked by the record low voter turnout. Observers and journalists reported about empty ballot stations in Minsk and other big towns. Many politicians think it made the authorities forbid calls for a boycott. This proposal was made for the first time in autumn 2012, after the parliamentary election.

Results of all elections and referendums since 1996 haven't been recognised by the international community due to falsifications.

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