Central Electoral Commission Doesn’t See the Need to Provide Public Organizations with Information about Order of Organization and Holding of Elections
Human Rights Center “Viasna” applied to the Central commission of the Republic of Belarus on holding of elections and republican referenda with the request to provide it with the elaborated instruction concerning organizational and legislative matters of work of polling station commissions on holding elections into local Deputy Soviets for familiarization.
CEC refused to do it, giving the following explanation: “the methodical recommendations you ask to submit, concern the work of electoral commissions. Only election holders will be provided with them. As far as public associations don’t organize elections, there are no reasons for providing them with such materials. The role and the rights of public organizations in the electoral process are clearly defined in the Electoral code of the Republic of Belarus”.
The most surprising phrase from the answer: “Your reference to principles of openness and publicity in activity of the Central Electoral Commission as grounding for your request seems to us not appropriate”.
It’s worth mentioning that the information concerning the procedures of organization and conduction of elections is based on the acing electoral legislation and is not a State secret. Besides, this information directly concerns interests of every citizen of the country and every citizen has the right of access to it. According to Article No. 22 of the Republic of Belarus “About public organizations” public organizations, being a subject of the electoral process, have the right to receive information concerning their activity without any obstacles and limitations.
We should also remind that the instructions that regulated the work of polling stations contained points that contradicted to the acting Electoral code. This can be the real reason for the refusal to give the information: the new instructions may contain lawless points as well.
Human rights organizations of the country resent the intention of the Central electoral commission to make secret out of the upcoming election and are going to express their joint protest against it.
Information Department of PA HRC “Viasna”