The Central Commission as a standing body has been formed by the Supreme Soviet of the Byelorussian SSR on December 4, 1989. At that time the Central Commission activity was guided by the Law of the Byelorussian SSR on Elections of Peoples' Deputies of the Byelorussian SSR.
After the nation-wide referendum conducted on November 24, 1996, the Constitution of the Republic of Belarus has established the status of the Central Commission for the first time. Subject to the Constitution, the Central Commission is formed by the President of the Republic of Belarus and the Council of the Republic of the National Assembly of the Republic of Belarus on a par basis. The Central Commission consists of 12 members of whom six are appointed by the President and another six are elected by the Council of the Republic. The Chairperson of the Central Commission is appointed by the Head of the State from among the commissioners with the consent of the Council of the Republic. The Vice-Chairperson and Secretary are elected from among the commissioners at the first meeting. Normally, the Central Commission is formed from the citizens with higher juridical education and experience in organizing and holding elections and referenda. The Central Commission term of office is five years.
The Central Commission activity is regulated by the Electoral Code of the Republic of Belarus and the Commission's Rules of Procedure.
Subject to the law, the Central Commission:
– arranges for election of the President of the Republic of Belarus, deputies of the House of Representatives and members of the Council of the Republic, deputies of the local Councils of Deputies; organizes preparation and holding of elections of the President of the Republic of Belarus, deputies of the House of Representatives and members of the Council of the Republic, deputies of local Council of Deputies, republican referenda; exercises control over the observance of legislation on elections, referenda, recall of deputies and members of the Council of the Republic throughout the republic, and explains the legislation provisions to ensure its uniform application;
– exercises guidance in the activity of electoral commissions and commissions for referenda;
– establishes constituencies for election to the House of Representatives and the average number of electors per constituency in the country;
– registers initiative groups of citizens for election of the President of the Republic of Belarus, and republican referenda;
– establishes the state mass media usage procedure for pre-election campaign;
– draws up and approves expense budgets for elections, republican referenda, recall of any deputy of the House of Representatives within the limits allocated from the republican budget; creates an extra-budgetary fund for elections and republican referenda whereto organizations, public associations and individuals may remit their voluntary donations;
– determines the forms of ballot-papers and other documents for elections and referenda;
– sums up the results of election or referendum and publishes an appropriate report in mass media; registers the elected deputies of the House of Representatives and publishes their lists in mass media; calls the first post-election session of the House of Representatives;
– considers applications and complaints associated with resolutions and actions of electoral commissions, referendum commissions, deputy-recall voting commissions, and passes the appropriate decisions;
– examines and summarizes the practices on application of legislation on elections and referenda, advances proposals aiming to the improvement of legislation on elections and referenda to the bodies that have the right of legislative initiative;
– exercise other powers under the Electoral Code and other legislative acts of the Republic of Belarus .
The Central Commission is a stand-alone state body. The Commission is not bound with resolutions of political parties and other public associations. Members of the Central Commission who are members of political parties shall suspend their membership with the party and may not take part in party activities or carry out any missions for the time of their office as commissioner.
The actual Central Commission membership has been formed on December 21, 2016, and it Chairperson is Lidia Ermoshina.