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Elections still possible in 2019 even if no money earmarked in state budget

Photo: Reuters

There is no budget line to finance elections or referenda in the 2019 state budget, Central Elections Commission (CEC) chairperson Lidziya Yarmoshyna said on Friday.

"Indeed, the next year is not an election year according to the schedule. Therefore, the Ministry of Finance has not allocated financial means for an electoral campaign. There will be only money available to fund the running costs of the Central Elections Commission," she said

Today we know that in the non-election year of 2019 the Central Elections Commission will cost Belarusians BYN538 000 ($225 000) or BYN44 000 ($21 000) a month.

In 2018 when Belarus had a parliamentary election, CEC's expenses were 36 times more and amounted to BYN19.5 million ($10 million).

Can one really draw a conclusion from the lack of funding in the budget that the parliamentary or presidential elections will not take place in 2019?

No, says Lidziya Yarmoshyna. The funding for an electoral campaign can be allocated after the election date is set.

"It is possible but the mechanism will be more complex. After the election date is set, the government has to be ordered to find the finances from the approved budget. It is possible," she said.