News for August 2008

26.08.2008 There will be no meetings with voters in Orsha and Dubrouna rayons

Local observers, activists of NGOs and political parties were surprised with the schedule of meetings with voters worked out by district commission of Orsha Dniaprouskaya district # 27. The district covers three administrative units – Orsha city, Orsha rayon, and Dubrouna rayon. The district commission planned 5 meetings with voters during the open campaign period… all five are in Orsha city. The commission did not think it was necessary to organizae meetings with voters in Orsha and Dubrouna rayons. The so-called groups of “facilitating the election process” composed of the local officials also failed to render assistance with that.

26.08.2008 Minsk: Rayon administrations conceal information about membership of precinct election commissions

Formation of precinct election commission ended almost two weeks ago, on August 13th. However, all interested parties of the election campaign still do not have complete information about members of Minsk precinct commissions.

After August 13th when interested citizens, representatives of political parties and non-governmental organizations called rayon administrations to find out if their representatives had become commission members, they received similar answers: “You can read that in the press”. The only exclusion was organizational department of Savetski rayon administration: a representative of the Party of Communists of Belarus from election district # 106 made an inquiry and received all information he needs. Practice has shown, it is very difficult to receive information about all precinct commissions from Minsk press. A group of enthusiasts tried to do that in a joint effort and encountered the following:

26.08.2008 Smarhon: Early agitation in Smarhon

Incumbent member of the Chamber of Representatives Tatsiana Holubeva, who is running for the next term, has been actively agitating for two weeks already. She visits the enterprises located in her district and carries out “meetings to report of her activities as an MP to the voters”. During the meetings she talks about the new laws passed with her support and explains what she will be able to do for Smarhon if she is elected again.

On August 19th and 21st Holubeva appeared on Smarhon local cable TV.

25.08.2008 Maladechna: “Official” contenders already appear on the radio

Registration of candidates to the Chamber of Representatives takes place until August 28th, 2008. However, the pro-governmental nominees have already started agitation.

25.08.2008 Barysau: Insult or Provocation attempt?

BPF member Siarhei Salash has submitted documents for registration as a candidate to the Chamber of Representatives in Barysau rural district # 63. He was nominated by citizens through signature collection. Yesterday evening, on August 25th he found a police summons in his mailbox. Deputy head of infringement prevention department of Barysau rayon police Aleh Volkau invited Salash to come on August 18th at 10 a.m. and give explanations about an administrative infringement.

25.08.2008 Rechytsa: observers informed about commission’s sessions in time

Members of the United Civic Party and BPF Party are registered as observers in Rechytsa district election commission. The observers are informed about sessions of the commission in time.

25.08.2008 Homel: CIS observer rushes to “assess” the elections

Homel newspapers published positive comments of CIS observer Anatoly Bekeshchenko about organization of the election process in Homel region.

25.08.2008 Executive committees disdain principles of openness and transparency

All election commissions have been formed. Human rights defenders point out, the process was closed for the public – all over the country observers were simply not admitted to the sessions of the executive bodies of power. It was also impossible to look through the documents about nomination of representatives to commissions. For instance, Hrodna rayon executive committee sent an official response to observer Mikola Voran, who had requested an opportunity to get acquainted with minutes of the sessions of NGOs and political parties and meetings of work collectives nominating representatives to commissions, and with signatures collected in support of such nominations. In the official reply he read that “observers are not entitled to that”.

24.08.2008 Barysau: Only supporters of Viktar Harbachou and Siarhei Salash not included in precinct commissions

As we found out from the state press, 1192 persons were nominated through signature collection, by work collectives, political parties and NGOs to 107 precinct election commissions in two election districts of Barysau.

Meanwhile, Barysau rayon executive committee made a decision to include 1107 persons in the precinct commissions.

24.08.2008 “Work with the electorate” gathers momentum

Homel, Maladechna and Vitebsk officials work hard

22.08.2008 Svetlahorsk: dependent commissions

The majority of precinct election commissions in Svetlahorsk election district are formed mainly with employees of one organization. Heads of the organizations often become chairs of the commissions. This is very convenient for any manipulation: commission members would hardly dare to contradict their boss.

22.08.2008 Eight political parties send representatives to CEC

Eight political parties have send representatives with advisory vote to the Central Election Commission, CEC claimed on August 22nd.

In particular, representatives were sent by the Republican Party of Labor and Justice (Viktar Sokalau), Communist Party of Belarus (Heorhi Atamanau), Liberal Democratic Party (Natallia Matseikovich), Belarusian Agrarian Party (Eduard Kalinin), Belarusian Social Democratic Party (Hramada) (Ivan Labachou), Party of Communists of Belarus (Alena Skryhan), United Civic Party (Uladzimir Ramanouski), and BPF Party (Halina Siamdzianava).

22.08.2008 Babruisk: precinct election commissions consist of loyal people

Out of 107 Babruisk precinct election commissions, 44 are composed of members which work in one work collective.

21.08.2008 Mahiliou: Members of district election commission proposed people to refuse from signatures for independent candidate

District election commission # 87 has invented a way to withdraw Tatsiana Shambalava from the race. Shambalava is a member of Belarusian Christian Democracy and a candidate on the unified list of UDF.

21.08.2008 Barysau: Yarmoshyna did not see violations in the actions of executive committee’s newspaper

On August 6th the Adzinstva newspaper founded by Barysau rayon executive committee, published an article by retired colonel Uladzimir Zhukouski. The article, titled “Touched with Attention” urged the residents to “give their votes for respectable and tireless worker, attentive and careful person”, who, in the author’s opinion, is incumbent MP Viktar Huminski.

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