Belarus plans to hold presidential elections on 9 August 2020 despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. For the first time in many years, along with opposition figures, representatives from the ruling elite intend to run in the election. The authorities reacted to this unusual situation with harassments and detentions of potential candidates, campaign staff and supporters. Seventeen persons have been declared political prisoners by Transparency International and the domestic human rights organisation Viasna.
This time the elections will be organised by electoral commissions almost entirely controlled by pro-government representatives. The Belarusian authorities have not yet invited OSCE/ODIHR to deploy an international election observation to the country. For the first time in almost 20 years, domestic observers will be the only source of information on the conduct of the vote.
What conclusions can be drawn from the ongoing electoral campaign? What are possible implications of these elections for the relations between Belarus and its international partners? How can we assess the protest dynamics and police reactions prior to the elections? And what do know about public opinion and the general mood in the country?
- Uladzimir Labkovich (Human Rights Center "Viasna"and founding member of the initiative “Human Rights Defenders for free elections”)
- Michael Georg Link (Member of the German Bundestag, FDP parliamentary group and former Director of the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights –ODIHR).
- Short inputs by ZOiS researchers Nadja Douglas and Félix Krawatzek.
- Chair: Stefanie Schiffer (EPDE)