Presidential Elections in Belarus 2010

Michael Batiukov

On November 18th, 2010 in Minsk The Central Election Commission (CEC) of Belarus has registered 10 people as candidates for the Belarus presidency. They are Gregory Kostusev, Alexander Lukashenko, Aleksei Mikhalevich, Vladimir Nekliaev, Yaroslav Romanchuk, Vitaly Rymashevsky, Andrei Sannikov, Nikolai Statkevich, Viktor Tereshchenko, and Dmitry Uss.

To be successfully nominated as a presidential candidate a person must be a citizen of the Republic of Belarus by birth aged 35 or older. The candidate should be eligible to vote and permanently live in the Republic of Belarus for at least ten years before the elections. He should have no record of convictions.

Candidates are nominated by citizens of the Republic of Belarus. Candidates must obtain at least 100 thousand signatures of voters before the registration and nomination. The CEC has recognized as valid 100870 signatures collected in support of the nomination of Kostusev; 1110149 - Lukashenko; 111399 - Mikhalevich, 180073 - Neklyaev; 123206 - Romanchuk, 102817 - Rymashevsky; 142023 - Sannikov; 111159 - Statkevich, 109012 - Tereshchenko; 104102 - Uss.

Upon receiving the registration card each candidate had a chance to say a few words.

According to Gregory Kostusev: "There are many important things to evaluate the free and fair election campaign. I do not think that this campaign is liberal: there is no freedom of speech, no freedom of agitation, for meetings with voters awkward and uncomfortable places are given by CEC, and there is a very low level of the inclusion of opposition to the electoral commissions. Only 0.25% out of 70815 people".

"The system of today's government is rotten, and it should be changed. Today's government must acknowledge, that it is cheating people since 1996. Alexander Lukashenko can not run for the president for the fourth time. He is illegitimate candidate, "- said at the meeting Pavel Sevyarynets (the representative of Vitaly Rymashevsky). Andrei Sannikov said: "Our country is called the last dictatorship in Europe. It is a shame for our country. But this is true. "

Presidential candidates should start pre-electoral campaigning on November 19. They have a month to convince the voters their candidatures are the best. While live debates among candidates will be broadcast for the first time, analysts doubt whether the elections will truly be free and fair because for the state-run mass media the election is still a minor event. Only brief official reports of the BelTA (Official State Information Agency) related to the election are replicated.

For the first time during the whole election campaign, the regional print media gave the list of persons who may become presidential candidates. Publications on socio-political topics are dominated by preparation for the All-Belarusian Assembly and there is nothing about presidential elections and its main candidates.

Most of the regional state-owned newspapers printed the BelTA material "Opposition Candidate Has No Chances to Win Presidential Election in Belarus - Sociological Poll". The article presents the data of a sociological polling conducted by the Analytical Centre EcooM (in October 2010). According to EcooM, 81 percent of respondents believe that the opposition cannot win the election and there are no worthy candidates among them; while 82.6 percent of the respondents do not trust the opposition.

Belarus will hold the presidential election on December 19th, 2010. To win election, a candidate must poll over 50% of the valid vote, and turnout must be at least 50%. If no candidate receives more than 50% in a first round vote, a second round is held within two weeks between the two candidates who placed highest in the first round. The President is considered elected in the second round if he has polled over 50% of votes of the electors, who have taken part in elections.


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