MINSK, March 23, /ITAR-TASS/. Elections to local Soviets of People’s Deputies will take place in Belarus on Sunday. Belarusians will have to elect 18,816 deputies to village, rural, city and regional councils as well as the Minsk City Council. The country’s Central Electoral Commission has registered 22,784 candidates.
Amendments made to Belarusian election laws last year cancelled a vote threshold at local elections. Therefore, a winning candidate is expected to gain a simple majority of votes.
Early polling started in Belarus on March 18 with about 25% of voters, included in the vote lists, casting their ballots in the first four days.
Belarus’s Interior Ministry has put the internal troops on alert for the time of the election campaign that got under way on March 17 and will be over on March 24. The Ministry has set up an emergency headquarters. Law and order at polling stations will be guarded round-the-clock.
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has urged his compatriots to come to polling stations on Sunday. “It is very important who is going to become a deputy tomorrow and will continue working creatively for the good of this country. I am calling on our people to come to the polling stations and make their conscious choice,” Lukashenko said.
Lukashenko will traditionally vote at a polling station located at the Belarusian Institute of Physical Culture and Sport in Minsk.
The Belarusian Electoral Code allows Russian citizens who permanently reside in Belarus to participate in local elections both as voters and candidates. About 30 Russian nationals, who have permanent residence permits in Belarus, will run in the local elections as candidates on Sunday.