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Belarus is urged to carry out comprehensive reform of its electoral system

PACE has urged Belarus to comprehensively reform its electoral system to bring it into line with international standards for democratic elections.

Approving a resolution and recommendation based on a report by Lord Blencathra (United Kingdom, EC), the Assembly said that the current failed electoral system in Belarus “had been a driving factor behind the current political, economic and human rights crisis affecting the country”.

The parliamentarians listed the priority areas requiring change in order to bring them into line with previous Assembly, OSCE/ODIHR and Venice Commission recommendations, recalling that they and others had been “pointing to the systemic problems” with the electoral system for more than two decades.

The Assembly also pointed out that democratic elections are not possible without respect for human rights, and condemned in the strongest terms the unprecedented wave of violence, mass arrests and intimidation that has taken place following the 2020 Presidential election, which was neither free nor fair.

It recalled that the integration of Belarus into the Council of Europe on the basis of the Organisation’s values and principles remained “a strategic objective”, and urged the Belarusian authorities and all relevant stakeholders, including all opposition representatives and civil society, to “urgently conduct a broad-based and inclusive national dialogue to ensure a peaceful way out of the crisis”.