2010 07/06

The amendments to the Belarusian election code provide a mixed response to the recommendations made by the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) and the Council of Europe’s Venice Commission.

This is said in a joint legal opinion of the two organizations released on June 4, Regnum news agency reports.
The amendments introduced in January represent a step towards removing some flaws in the country’s election legislation, but they are unlikely to resolve the underlying concern that the legislative framework for elections in Belarus continues to fall short of providing a basis for genuinely democratic elections, the document says.

“The amendments include a number of significant improvements which respond to some of the recommendations we made in previous election observation reports and during the recent process of open and constructive consultations with the Belarusian authorities,” said Director of ODIHR Janez Lenarcic.

In his view, several items should be improved. “For example, the potential positive impact of some of the amendments risks being undermined by flaws in the counting and tabulation process which remained unchanged,” Learcic thinks.

Thomas Markert, the Secretary of the Venice Commission, stressed that no legislation, however good it may be, can alone guarantee elections in line with international standards: “The quality of future elections in Belarus will depend not only on the quality of the legislation.”

The opinion raises concerns about a number of issues, in particular the lack of safeguards ensuring the integrity and transparency of the vote count and the fact that observers can be deprived of opportunities to monitor the voting and counting. ODIHR and the Venice Commission stand ready to assist the authorities of Belarus with the continuation of the electoral reform process.

Source: www.charter97.org

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