Referendum 2022: Analytical report on election campaigning
The expert mission of observation of the 2022 referendum is carried out by the Belarusian Helsinki Committee and the Human Rights Center "Viasna" within the campaign "Human Rights Defenders for Free Elections".
- The referendum and related events remain out of the attention of the general public. The attitude to the referendum is characterized as “indifferent and hostile” and a tendency to boycott is noted. Among the reasons for such an attitude are the general tense atmosphere in society due to the COVID-19 epidemic, the continuous repression against citizens, the constant rise in food prices. At the same time, the referendum on the adoption of the revised Constitution is actively covered on television, radio, and in pro-government Telegram channels. Another topic of people's concern is the Russian military contingent, which remains in Belarus and participates in the military operation against Ukraine.
- The referendum took part against a backdrop of repression against civil society and participants in the peaceful assemblies after 2020.
- Mass events during a referendum can only take place when authorized by the government; independent structures’ ability to hold campaigning events is strongly restricted. Legislative restrictions on public campaigning during the referendum, as well as general restrictions of mass events by opposition movements and ordinary citizens, make it impossible to extensively use rallies to campaign during the referendum.
- Official activities dedicated to the referendum are being arranged all over the country. They include meetings with heads of regional executive committees, deputies of all levels, etc., discussions, concerts at enterprises, public campaigns.
- It is known about numerous facts of the use of administrative resources during the campaign.
- No equal conditions for supporters and opponents of the referendum on campaigning are ensured.
- In several cities, preventive detentions of opponents of the draft Constitution submitted to referendum, public activists, and peaceful assemblies of 2020 participants were carried out.
- There were cases of persecution of citizens who tried to take part in monitoring.