Opinion. Alexander Shlyk on the Referendum

Photo from Alexander Shlyk's personal archive
3 mins

На русском языке: Мнение. Александр Шлык о референдуме
На беларускай мове: Меркаванне. Аляксандр Шлык пра рэферэндум

Alexander Shlyk, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya’s special representative for elections in the Cabinet of Representatives telegram channel assessed the statements about the referendum. Here are his words unchanged.

Today, Lidia Yermoshina has lifted the veil on the upcoming referendum in Belarus. Unfortunately, there are more questions than answers. See below for some points.

When it comes to the Constitutional referendum to be held, it will be appointed by the President of Belarus, these are his powers.

We should not forget that in accordance with Art. 113 of the Electoral Code, «the right of initiative to hold a republican referendum belongs to the President of the Republic of Belarus, the House of Representatives and the Council of the Republic, citizens of the Republic of Belarus.» This means that there is still time for citizens to put their alternative proposals to the referendum.

... the referendum is given a 30-day period. After all, election commissions will work three times less (than in the elections of deputies or president)", "The required minimum period for the preparation and holding of a referendum is 30 days."

It is not clear why Lidia Yermoshina believes that the referendum will be given a 30-day period. Art. 117 of the Electoral Code states that «the date of the referendum is set no later than three months from the date of issuance of the decree of the President of the Republic of Belarus on the appointment of a referendum.» That means that even if the referendum is called on the initiative of Lukashenka, how does Lidia Yermoshina know that he will choose the 30-day period?

Most likely, Yermoshina will be guided by the provisions of Art. 34 of the Electoral Code, according to which the commissions of the middle level «are formed … a month before the referendum.» The question arises: how will the commissions be formed on the same day the referendum is announced? It seems that time is needed to nominate representatives to the commission, consider applications, make a decision.

There’s another question about the 30-day period – why rush? Art. 117 gives up to three months – why not hold a referendum in such a timeframe, give people the opportunity to discuss the proposed changes, conduct a serious campaign for or against them?

The answer to this question is partially given by Lidia Yermoshina herself: «Because … there is no period of pre-election campaigning, then such long terms are not needed for its [referendum] preparation and organization.»  That is, agitation, election campaign, discussion are not planned.

The question is most likely to be one. It will be formulated as follows: "Do you approve constitutional amendments?" And there will be two answers: "Yes" or "No".

The most obvious question here is what should those who agree with one proposed change but not with another do? How to vote in this case – for or against?

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