News ID: 100490
Publish Date : 27 February 2022 - 21:52

Belarus Votes in Constitutional Referendum

MINSK (AP/TASS) – Belarusians cast ballots Sunday in a constitutional referendum that the country’s leader called.
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said he was confident that Belarusians will support a set of constitutional amendments that would allow him to stay in power until 2035.
The revised main law also sheds Belarus’ neutral status, opening the way for stronger military cooperation with Russia, which deployed forces to Belarusian territory for military drills and then sent them rolling into Ukraine as part of the operation that began Thursday.
Some of those forces quickly closed in on the Ukrainian capital, Kiev, located just 75 kilometers (less than 50 miles) south of the border.
The constitutional amendments bring back limits on presidential terms that had been abolished during Lukashenko’s tenure, allowing a president only two five-year terms in office. However, the restriction will only take effect once a “newly elected president” assumes office, which gives Lukashenko an opportunity to run for two more terms after his current one expires in 2025.
“A total of 5,510 polling stations are open across the country,” the Belarusian Central Election Commission stated.
It also noted that some 217 of them were opened in sanatoriums, dispensaries, hospitals and other healthcare facilities where early voting did not take place. Snap voting began on February 22, and continued for five days until February 26. Some 42.93% of eligible voters took part in it, TASS reported.
Belarus has over 6.8 million registered voters. Only one question will be put to a popular vote: “Do you accept amendments and additions to the Constitution of the Republic of Belarus?” Two options will be possible, “yes” and “no,” and only one can be chosen, otherwise a ballot will be declared invalid.
According to the law, the referendum will be declared valid if more than half of the registered voters participate. “The amendments and additions to the constitution will be adopted, if the majority of those included in the voting lists support them,” the CEC pointed out.