News for July 2008

31.07.2008 Baranavichy: Signatures for candidate collected on the order of the ideological department

On the order of the ideological department of Baranavichy city executive committee a telephoned telegram was sent to Baranavichy schools on July 22-23, 2008. The telegram proposed every school to send 5 employees to collect signatures for the candidate to the Parliament.

31.07.2008 Signatures for official nominees collected at workplaces

In Rechytsa and Khoiniki election districts signatures are collected both for pro-democratic and for the “official” candidates. Signatures for the former are collected through a door-to-door campaign, and for the latter – by the administration at workplaces.

31.07.2008 Orsha: state mass media start campaigning

Orsha state-owned mass media begin promoting pro-governmental candidates more and more openly. Recently the local Arashanskaya Hazeta published two articles by incumbent MP Uladzimir Zhvikou. The author especially stresses the role of head of the Belarusian Railways Uladzimir Zharela in the development of Orsha railway center. Uladzimir Zharela registered an initiative group in Orsha city district # 26.

31.07.2008 Smarhon: Attempts to discredit candidate Iryna Veshtard continue

On July 30th false flyers on behalf of Iryna Veshtard’s manager and human rights defender Alexander Dzerhachou appeared in Smarhon. The flyer says: “My colleague in human rights activities Iryna Veshtard needs financial assistance. Iryna Veshtard does not work for 12 years because of lack of good jobs. Her activity in the opposition party lead by Kazulin does not bring her good income. But Iryna needs to organize a campaign to be elected Member of Parliament and defend your rights. I appeal to all citizens who are concerned about the future of our country, asking to donate 10 thousand BYR in support of Iryna Veshtard. Call me on telephone number: (………)”

31.07.2008 CEC failed to satisfy Vinahradau’s complaint

On July 31st the Central Election Commission considered the complaint of Zmitser Vinahradau from Miadzel. Vinahradau complained against registration of his initiative group and creation of obstacles during submission of documents.

31.07.2008 Hrodna: Show-sessions carried out for observers

Independent observers have an impression, district election commissions organize show sessions for them. Independent observer Yanka Kurcheuski was invited by phone to a session of district election commission # 50 by phone. From the very beginning he felt negative attitude from the commission members. They reacted very nervously to his Belarusian language. No important issues were discussed during the session. Only general phrases were said. In half an hour the observer was told the session was over and that he had to leave. However, commission members did not leave. It remains a secret what they were doing behind closed doors when the observer was sent away.

31.07.2008 Hrodna: Political pressure on Viktar Sazonau grows hard

In Hrodna the authorities continue pressure on Viktar Sazonau, human rights defender and civic activist. Today, on July 31st, he was summoned to Leninski district police department of Hrodna. The police questioned him about the blast in Minsk on July 3rd.

31.07.2008 Hrodna: head of initiative group invited to KGB

Today Uladzimir Laryn, head of initiative group for Viktar Padchynenkau (Hrodna rural district # 52), received a phone call from the KGB. They invited him to come to the local KGB department, but failed to explain the reasons for such an invitation. Uladzimir Laryn replied he would come when he received official summons. The KGB officer said he would receive the summons the next day and would have to come.

31.07.2008 CEC does not accept Tatsiana Rysevets’ complaint for consideration

The district election commission considered Tatsiana Ryseviets’ application for registration of her initiative group on Sunday, 27th, the last day before the deadline. The commission failed to consider the application and make the decision on Saturday. By majority of votes the commission denied registration to Tatsiana Ryseviets, activist of the local movement against construction of a chemical plant in Druzhny.

30.07.2008 Slonim: CEC warns head of district election commission

On July 21st Slonim district election commission # 58 did not work during the whole day. Ivan Sheha, BPF member and the UDF candidate, had to complain to the Central Election Commission about that. Ivan Sheha points out:

“On July 21st, 2008 I came to Slonim election commission at 3.30 p.m. Under the election law, I was going to apply for registration of my initiative group.

I came to the building of the rayon administration, where the district election commission was located, and did not find any signs which would lead me to the commission’s room. I managed to find the office, but the doors were locked, although according to the work hours posted on the doors, the commission should have been working.

30.07.2008 Rechytsa: Observers not registered

Nonpartisan residents of Rechytsa Uladzimir Koshchanka and Vital Charniauski were nominated as observers to Rechytsa district election commission through signature collection. However, the commission refused to register them as observers and recommended to come again around August 10th.

30.07.2008 Babruisk: authorities use administrative resources for signature collection

During signature collection in Babruisk rural district a member of Ales Chyhir’s initiative group learned from a voter, how signatures for the “official” candidate Anatol Hlaz were collected.

“One of the voters who I asked for the signature in support of Ales Chyhir said they had already put their signatures for Anatol Hlaz, and did it at work”, initiative group member Andrei Padaliak says, “It turned out, the company administration collected passports from all employees, copied their passport data and showed the space where they had to put their signature”.

30.07.2008 Human rights defender undergoes personal search at border

Viktar Sazonau, Hrodna civic activist and human rights defender, had to undergo personal search at Hrodna railway station twice during one day.

On July 28th Viktar Sazonau was travelling to Bialystok, Poland, for his personal business. However, the border guards found his name in some list and sent him back to the customs officers for a check. As a result, the train was delayed 15 minutes.

30.07.2008 Krychau: Democratic activists could organize blast because of personal resentment?

According to head of crime investigation department Chupryn, deputy head of Krychau administration Siarhei Marozau believes democratic activists could organize the blast in Minsk because of personal resentment. Chupryn shared that with independent candidate Herdzey.

According to Marozau, local activists Niarouny, Herdzey, and Kudrautsau could be offended by the refusal of the local authorities to permit their picket in support of Alexander Kazulin. Marozau thinks, the activists could bear malice and explode the bomb in Minsk on July 3rd.

30.07.2008 Mahiliou region: 24 initiative groups of democratic candidates in 13 districts

24 initiative groups of pro-democratic candidates are registered in Mahiliou region. Head of the election headquarters for Mahiliou region Yury Novikau points out: “all initiative groups of all pro-democratic candidates who wanted to run in the election were registered. They have already started collecting signatures. Candidates had no problems in registering their initiative groups”. “In the beginning 28 representatives of pro-democratic parties were going to run. For various reasons some of them decided not to run”. There are 13 districts in Mahiliou region. Initiative groups of pro-democratic candidates are registered in every district. Human Rights Defenders for Free Elections

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