Belarusian MFA comments on reasons for not opening polling stations for constitutional referendum abroad
MINSK, Feb. 2 (BelTA) — Belarus does not plan to open polling stations abroad for the referendum on constitutional amendments, said Anatoly Glaz, head of the Office of Information and Digital Diplomacy, press secretary of the Belarusian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, at a press conference in Minsk on February 2, BelTA has learned.
According to the electoral code, the decision to open a polling station outside Belarus is taken by the head of an embassy or consulate, noted Anatoly Glaz. When deciding on the opening of a polling station, several factors are taken into account: from the number of citizens registered in the consular register to the epidemiological situation.
“The safety of voters and members of the commission, diplomats and employees is the top priority,” Anatoly Glaz stressed. Register”
“In Lithuania and Latvia, as a result of their actions, there are simply not enough staff to run a polling station,” noted Anatoly Glaz. “Many embassies and consulates have decided not to put the health of staff and constituents at risk due to the increase in COVID-19 cases in host countries. In a number of countries, the level of clinically confirmed cases of a new variant of coronavirus has increased tenfold and strict restrictions have been imposed on the movement of people between regions.
“There is another reason. During the previous election campaign, members of electoral commissions and employees of foreign missions received many threats, faced many provocations, attacks by hooligans and extremists. It would be very naive to believe that the heads of our foreign missions will turn a blind eye to the completely negligent attitude of a number of EU countries towards their obligations to ensure the security of diplomatic missions,” said Anatoly Glaz.
He recalled that between August 2020 and December 2021, more than 20 acts of aggression were committed against Belarusian diplomats. The buildings and property of some diplomatic missions were vandalized and damaged. There have been direct attacks on Belarusian diplomats and embassies in the UK, Poland, France, Germany, Belgium, Czech Republic, Ukraine and Lithuania.
“These attacks included grievous bodily harm, arson, damage to state property, etc. Importantly, with rare exceptions, authorities in host countries failed to bring the perpetrators to justice, and sometimes have not even sought them out. It is clear that it is either the inability or the unwillingness of the various countries of the EU to fulfill their obligations, one could say, sacred”, he said. he declares. “Against this background, the heads of some embassies and consulates have taken a completely logical and reasonable decision not to set up polling stations due to uncertainty about their security and safety.”
All this in no way violates the constitutional right of Belarusian citizens to participate in the upcoming referendum, Anatoly Glaz said. Traditionally, the share of voters abroad is less than 1%.
“Those who temporarily live abroad will be able to vote at the place of registration in Belarus, and those who permanently reside with a passport of the PP series – at a polling station at the place of temporary registration or at the place of last residence in the Republic of Belarus. We would like to remind you that for Belarusian citizens there are no entry restrictions both through land and air checkpoints. They are not required to pass a PCR test to enter in the country,” added Anatoly Glaz.