Publication: Monitor Volume: 1 Issue: 125

The Constitutional Court of Belarus ruled October 30 that the electoral law passed by the existing parliament is constitutional. The ruling means that in the future a minimum voter turnout of only 25 percent is needed for a valid parliamentary election. President Lukashenko had insisted that elections were controlled be the previous law, which required a turnout of at least 50 percent. Following the ruling, the Central Electoral Commission lost no time announcing that it was registering candidates for the repeat legislative elections scheduled for November 29. (11)

The Court ruling clears the way for completing the formation of the parliament, or Supreme Soviet. Last May’s elections were held under the 50 percent requirement, and filled only 119 of the Supreme Soviet’s 260 seats because of a voter turnout. The legislature subsequently lowered the minimum to 25 percent. Lukashenko has threatened to withhold recognition from a legislature elected in part under the new law, and to govern without a legislature. The October 30 ruling again demonstrates the Court’s independence of the executive power.

Shevardnadze Links Russian Troop Presence To Regaining Abkhazia.