On the night of November 18, the Central Commission of the Republic of Belarus on Elections and Holding Republican Referenda published the preliminary results parliamentary elections. Not a single opposition candidate was elected.
According to the national elections commission, the turnout was 77,22% of voters, the elections were held in all constituencies. All the parliament’s 110 seats were won by ex-government functionaries, diplomats and pro-government officials.
The outgoing parliament had two opposition deputies, who surprisingly won seats at the last election in 2016. However, neither of the two candidates was allowed to run again this year.
About a quarter of voters had cast their ballots in early voting that started last Monday and is seen by the opposition as fraught. They reported about ballot-box stuffing, ballot boxes standing unguarded and the vote count without observers being present. Election officials denied opposition claims of voting violations.
Last week an independent observer filmed a woman who tried to stuff a pile of ballots into a ballot box during early voting in Brest. Responding to the incident Election Commission chief Lydia Yermoshina said the observer who shot the video should be stripped of his accreditation.
The full list of the candidates who won the seats in the 2019 parliamentary elections is available here in Russian.
2020 presidential election
The parliamentary election came ahead of a presidential election next year, in which Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko plans to run for another term in the 2020 presidential election.
The head of state also stated that the Belarusian people could vote him out of office next year if they no longer wanted him to see as the president.
” If people do not support me, I will not be offended. I have already worked at the post for many years. It is up to you to decide whether I need to run for the office in the coming election or not.
I have promised that I would not hang on to this seat until my fingers turn blue. Trust me, it’s not really the softest chair,” he told reporters after casting his ballot on Sunday, 17 November.
Integration with Russia
Lukashenko also used the occasion to comment on an integration deal with Russia and a related unresolved dispute over energy subsidies from Russia.
“What is happening in Belarus? We face new conditions every year. As a result, our economy incurs more and more losses. Who needs such a union?”
During the weekend, there were some low-key protests of around 300-400 people in the run-up to the election that the opposition said was predetermined.
The election observation mission deployed by the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) believes that the parliamentary elections in Belarus did not meet important international standards for democratic elections. This was announced during a press conference on preliminary findings and conclusions on Monday, 18 November.