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Enhancing electoral sovereignty is a must in modern conditions

Preventing foreign interference in elections came to the fore in many countries in 2023.

Attempts to influence the preparation, conduct or outcome of electoral campaigns always have one goal – pitting social groups against each other during a riot. At the same time, the forms of interference in electoral processes are becoming more sophisticated. If earlier detractors used to promote "their" parties, now they are trying to promote "their" election commissions or "their" observers. And the tools of influence are the disruption of real elections and the non-recognition of the results, pressure on members of election commissions, training election organizers in the standards of other countries, and the creation of alternative elections on the Internet.

Because of this, participation of foreign organizations in national electoral processes is limited worldwide.

Restrictions are introduced by creating registries, specialized analytical centers, and national repositories of personal data. For instance, in Hungary, the law "On the Protection of National Sovereignty" is at the stage of adoption, which will introduce criminal penalties for up to three years for using foreign financing during elections. In Russia, foreign agents, despite having passive suffrage, are not entitled to be members of election commissions, observers, and cannot finance the election funds of candidates and parties. In Germany, it is planned to cut off the funds of individual political parties from financing. In Brussels, the EU authorities propose a ban on advertising and consulting services from non-EU countries, as well as a ban on political advertising targeted by race, ethnicity, and views. In the run-up to 2025 elections, Canada is clearing its own electoral field by creating a register of NGOs and a special commission to investigate electoral crimes.

Belarus is no exception: financing of political parties from abroad is prohibited in our country. If this happens, their activities will be liquidated by the Supreme Court.

Such close attention to electoral security issues, according to the political scientist, is due to three things: the turbulent situation in the world, the politicization of the digital space, and the cosmopolitanization of the electorate.

The share of political technologies in the projection of military force is growing. According to expert estimates, only 20% of all measures used today to achieve military goals are military. Each of the 65 major conflicts in the world is connected in one way or another with election campaigns. This has historically happened when, through elections, the hegemon state or a corporate player brought the "right" party to power. We have similar situations now, when elections in one country are used either to destabilize the situation, or to counteract regional integration, or to aggravate bilateral relations with neighbors.

The development of technology has entailed the politicization of digital intervention. For example, the impact on a voter's choice by collecting personal data has become widespread.

This allows to influence the right people with contextual advertising, search query filtering, digital promotion of bloggers, and advertising on social networks. The method of organizing alternative electoral infrastructure in the digital space in order to simulate the activities of government agencies has become a classic one. This leads to a decrease in confidence in the electoral system.

In addition, strengthening of market relations and increased migration lead to the cosmopolitanization of the electorate. At the same time, people migrating from unstable zones represent a cohesive electorate, as a result of which their voting abroad can influence the election results. It is unlikely that such groups, while abroad, will be guided by national interests.

At the same time, the fight against foreign interference has a downside, when the discussion about interference turns into a coordinate system of the domestic agenda.

This shifts the focus from internal development to external forces. It should be emphasized that Belarus has already taken this challenge into account in full. Now, the prerequisites for intervention have been eliminated: a competitive environment for constructive forces has been created at all levels. Time will show which candidates for deputies will take advantage of these conditions.