HUMAN RIGHTS CENTER "VIASNA" STRONGLY PROTESTS ABOUT NEGLECT OF DEMOCRATIC PRINCIPLES IN FORMATION OF ELECTION COMMISSIONS
Of the Council of the Human Rights Center "Viasna"
We, members of the Council of the Human Rights Center "Viasna", express our vigorous protest in view of total neglect of democratic principles during the formation of territorial commissions for election of deputies to local councils.
We state with great concern that facts of not including representatives of political parties and democratic non-governmental organizations into territorial election commissions demonstrate, that the authorities totally ignored the requirements of the Election Code, Art. 35 in particular. Art. 35 provides for the right of political parties and non-governmental organizations, as well as their branches, to nominate their representatives for membership in the proper territorial commissions.
Out of 13,448 members of territorial commissions, political parties are represented by 61 person, which makes up 0.45% of the total number of commissions members. Political parties are represented in the following proportion: Communist Party of Belarus – 21 representatives; Belarusian Communist Party – 19; Belarusian Social Democratic Party (Narodnaya Hramada) – 5; Liberal Democratic Party of Belarus – 5; Agrarian Party – 2; United Civic Party – 1; Belarusian Patriotic Party – 1; Social Democratic Party of People's Consent – 1; Belarusian Popular Front – 0.
Representatives of the following non-governmental organizations became members of territorial election commissions: Belarusian National Union of Youth (ex-Belarusian Patriotic Youth Union); Veterans' Association, Union of Veterans of Afghanistan War, Society of the Disabled, Society of Hunters and Fishermen, etc. It should be pointed out, that most of these organizations are financially supported by the state in exchange for loyalty.
Among commission members, nominated by citizens by signature collection, there is a great number of state companies' directors and heads of state executive bodies. By this the Belarusian authorities create an illusion of broad representation of civic society in territorial commissions.
We have to state, that the Belarusian authorities have again ignored the principle of broad representative nature of commissions and continue the tendency of exercising the full control over the election process.
We address the Belarusian public and international community with an appeal to pay attention to the facts of disrespect of the fundamental principles of democratic election process.
We demand from the officials of the country to prepare and conduct the election campaign in compliance with the current legislation of the Republic of Belarus.
12 December 2002