LOCAL AUTHORITIES IGNORE DEMOCRATIC PARTIES AND NGOs' NOMINEES TO DISTRICT ELECTION COMMISSIONS
Another stage of the election campaign – forming of district election commissions -- is over. The authorities practically ignored the norms of the Belarusian election legislation again.
There was the total of 6,681 district commissions created. The total number of district commissions members is 72,328 people.
Most of the members of district commissions were nominated by working collectives and citizens (by signature collection). Only 162 (out of 72,328) commission members belong to political parties. At the same time, most of those 162 are members of political parties, loyal to the current regime (Communist Party of Belarus (KPB) – 81, and Agrarian Party 30). Democratic political parties are practically not represented in district commissions. Party of Communists of Belarus (PKB) has the largest representation – 29 people, United Civic Party – 21, and Belarusian Popular Front – only 1 person.
Public associations are represented in district commissions by 4,118 people. At the same time, the majority of commission members, who were nominated by public associations, belong to such organizations as Belarusian Republican Youth Union (BRSM), veterans' structures, and other organizations who support the current policy of the government. According to our data, representatives of such organizations as Belarusian Helsinki Committee, Human Rights Center "Viasna", "Lew Sapeha Foundation", and a number of regional NGOs, were not included into district commissions. For example, Human Rights Center "Viasna" nominated 1 person in Brest, 5 people in Homel region and 5 people in Mazyr. None of them became members of the commissions. Belarusian Helsinki Committee nominated 10 people in Brest – and no one was included. In Homel region 155 people were nominated by Homel NGO "Civic Initiatives", 10 – by "Radzimichy", 5 – by "Lew Sapeha Foundation". None of them were registered as commission members. For Homel city commissions "Civic Initiatives" nominated 64 people, and Lew Sapeha Foundation" – 5 people, and all of them were turned down as well. In Hrodna city representatives of Belarusian Helsinki Committee and Belarusian Independent Trade Union also did not manage to become commission members.
According to the Central Election Commission, the main reason for such situation was lack of registered local structures of the NGOs, low activity level of their members, and their failure to win trust with the local authority bodies. However, Viasna received enough information from the regions to claim that the local authorities purposefully ignored representatives of democratic political parties and NGOs, which had been nominated to the district commissions.
For example, in Homel city Belarusian Popular Front nominated 6 people, UCP – 62 people, and all of them were turned down. In Homel region BPF nominated 25 people, and UCP – 116. Only 10 UCP representatives became members of district commissions.
In Brest city BPF Party nominated 5 people, Belarusian Social Democratic Hramada – 3 people, Belarusian Social Democratic Party – 10 people, Liberal Democratic Party – 15 people, with zero outcome for all parties.
In Hrodna city BPF nominated 33 representatives for membership, and none were included. In Slonim BPF nominated 22 people, same negative result.
In Vitebsk city BPF nominated 21 people, UCP – 15, Belarusian Social Democratic Party – 4 people: only 1 person (BPF representative) became a member of a district commission.
In Minsk BPF nominated 22 people, UCP – 77, Belarusian Social Democratic Party – over 100 people – only one UCP representative became a district commission member.
Thus, we conclude, that the authorities ignored the norms of Art 11, 34, 35 of the Election Code, restricting the rights of political parties, NGOs and all Belarusian citizens.