Close this search box.

Report on the results of monitoring the election* campaigning

(February 27, 2024)


The expert elections*2024 observation mission was organized by the Belarusian Helsinki Committee and the Viasna Human Rights Center as part of the “Human Rights Defenders for Free Elections” campaign. The mission collects and analyzes information about the election campaign based on open sources and messages from voters from Belarus.


– the canvassing stage, as well as the election campaign in general, took place in conditions of purged public political field: after re-registration, 4 political parties out of 16 remained, hundreds of civil society organizations and independent media were liquidated, activists and journalists were persecuted, access to information within the country was limited. In these conditions, there is no real discussion of political and socially significant issues. The state media remains the main, and for certain groups of the population, the only source of information about the political process;

– the electoral process, fully controlled by the authorities, which began with the formation of election commissions and the formation of lists of candidates (see previous reports of the “Human Rights Defenders for Free Elections” campaign), continued with a tightly controlled imitation of the political race between entirely pro-government candidates. The authorities were trying to handle the difficult problem of creating an appearance of public interest in the elections* while prohibiting the manifestation of any public initiative;

– the Electoral Code (EC) stipulates the possibility of holding mass events with the participation of candidates, but the authorities, considering any street activity as a threat, have taken all measures to make such events invisible. Compared to previous election campaigns, the number of places where such events can be held has decreased. Those rare pre-election pickets that were held across the country were small and had state symbols in their decoration, so it was difficult to determine which candidate they were held in support of;

– the campaign of most candidates was conducted mainly in the form of meetings with voters in the assembly halls of institutions and enterprises, often during working or lunch hours. The participation of voters in such meetings was ensured by the administration. The information coverage of such meetings created the appearance of great interest in the candidates, their programs and answers to questions of interest to voters. How the campaigning processes are managed by the administration can be noticed in the peculiar practice of “saving” organizational efforts: joint speeches of several candidates registered in the same electoral district with practically identical programs were common, which is absurd in a competitive election campaign;

– some of the meetings with voters were attended by representatives of the Ministry of Internal Affairs who knew the identities of those present, which created a sense of danger and led to additional self-censorship of those present concerning undesirable questions about the situation in the country;

– according to the data provided by the CEC, as of February 4, 2024 (as of February 24, there are no newer data on the CEC website), 82% of candidates for the House of Representatives used the right to submit their program for publication in print media. It is difficult to find the texts of the programs of candidates for the House of Representatives on the Internet: neither the websites of state media, nor the candidates themselves, nor the parties that nominated the candidates published them. The candidates’ election programs generally reflect the sterile political landscape of the country (some of them actually repeat each other word for word) and represent — regardless of party affiliation — a set of values that coincide with the positions of the current authorities;

– the candidates were given airtime on state television, and there were formal TV debates. However, the existing legislative restrictions, minus the introductory and final words, leave each candidate about 3 minutes to communicate with their opponent, which limits the possibility of an in-depth exchange of opinions. Some speeches contained signs of incitement to hatred, prohibited by Article 47 of the EC, and manipulation of information;

– the artificial nature of the canvassing period is most clearly visible from the coverage of this stage in the state media. Despite the general density of information, it does not reflect a political competition of alternative visions of the country’s future, but general words about the importance of elections and the obligation of voters to take part in them (with a continued focus on early voting);

– the CEC, executive committees, and social institutions were actively involved in educational and awareness-raising events about the elections, substituting such activity for the lively political process of the election campaigning. During the campaign period, special attention was paid to the “patriotic education of young people” during various “open dialogues” and at “dialogue platforms” in institutions of secondary special and higher education and when covering them on social networks and in the media. At the same time, the participants of such information events were often in a position dependent on the speakers and attendance at such events could effectively be mandatory for them;

– many registered candidates did not use their right to open special election accounts: at the level of elections* to the House of Representatives, only 160 candidates out of 265 took advantage of this opportunity. That is, across the country, 105 candidates for the House of Representatives are “running” a campaign without having the funds for it. This proves that competition in elections* is an imitation.

Read the full report here.


The term “elections*” in relation to the 2024 election campaign is used with an asterisk to emphasize the conventionality of this term, since any free and fair election campaign presupposes all conditions under which rights and freedoms are fully realized, including freedom of speech, freedom of peaceful meetings and associations, the right to participate in the governance of one’s state, freedom from discrimination, which are currently practically absent in Belarus.

Subscribe to our

Sign up for our monthly newsletter
and receive the latest EPDE news

Subscribe to our

Sign up for our monthly newsletter and receive the latest EPDE news

We use cookies to optimize our website and our service. Manage your cookie settings here.