Legal Frameworks for National Elections and Referendums in Belarus


A voter casts her ballot during early voting ahead of the 2020 presidential election in Belarus. © Viktor Tolochko / Sputnik via AP

International and local experts have repeatedly evaluated the legal frameworks for referendums and presidential and parliamentary elections in Belarus. They have found that the frameworks do not adequately guarantee the conduct of elections in line with international obligations and standards.

Under a Belarus rapid response program, the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) developed two legal review papers: one focused on analyzing the legal framework for presidential elections and referendums in Belarus, and the other on the legal framework for parliamentary elections. It is recommended that the papers be read together, analyzing the degree to which Belarus’ legal norms align with international obligations, standards and good practice in democratic elections as well as with experts’ past assessments and recommendations.

The papers provide a number of interim and long-term recommendations. Interim measures can include changes to regulations and practice and effected through resolutions by the Central Election Commission, none of which would require legal amendments. When a comprehensive overhaul of the legal framework is possible, more improvements could be achieved through legal changes.

This past June, IFES was honored to co-host an international conference on “Democratic Elections to Solve the Crisis in Belarus” in cooperation with International IDEA, Democracy Reporting International and Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya’s office. Watch the event.

Review and Analysis of the Legal Framework for Presidential Elections and Referendums in Belarus

Review and Analysis of the Legal Framework for Parliamentary Elections in Belarus

Published on August 6, 2021.

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