Voting begins in Belarus for constitutional referendum

Voting in constitutional referendum begins at 8 a.m. local time (GMT0500).

Voting begins in Belarus for constitutional referendum

Voting in Belarus’ constitutional referendum has begun on Sunday at 8 a.m. local time (GMT0500).

Over 6.8 million people are eligible to vote in the referendum for amendments and additions to the country’s constitution. The voting will end at 8 p.m. local time (1700GMT).

Ten days after the final results are announced, these amendments and additions will become an integral part of the constitution.

People who are not able to participate in the referendum on Sunday cast their votes earlier in the separately opened ballot boxes from Feb. 22. The Belarusian Central Election Committee announced that the turnout for early voting was 42.93%.

Amendments to Belarusian constitution

According to the constitutional amendments that will affect the problems related to the state structure, the Belarusian People's Assembly will become the highest representative body of democracy in the country and will serve as stabilization and consolidation in society.

While the president remains the country's highest-ranking official, the conditions for this position are getting tougher than before. Those who have lived in the country for at least 20 years, who are over 40 years old -- not 35 as in the current constitution -- who do not have foreign citizenship or do not reside in another country can become presidential candidates, while a person will not serve as a president for more than two terms.