Results of Election Will Depend on Admission of Party Representatives to Electoral Commissions
By Ales Dashchynski
On 16-30 July representatives to circuit electoral commission are to be nominated. The deadline for the appropriate documents to be submitted is 30 July. On 18 July a number of political parties held sittings in Minsk on nomination of their representatives to circuit polling stations.
The Central Electoral Commission still hasn’t published documents about nomination of representatives to electoral commissions.
-- The mechanism of the nomination remains undefined, that’s why parties have to take certain risk, -- points out the lawyer of Human Rights Center “Viasna” Valiantsin Stefanovich. – The procedure is still unclear, because the CEC hasn’t issued any rulings with explanation of the order of nomination to the commissions. Only republican governing bodies of political parties have the right to nominate representatives of parties to circuit electoral commissions. As far as they haven’t received any explanations from the CEC, it is hard to predict anything about the nomination. The general procedure is quite familiar, but there can be different nuances. If we take earlier elections, parties had the right to nominate to a circuit commission only if they had organizational bodies, registered on the territory of circuit, -- said Stefanovich.
The practice of the previous electoral campaigns shows that members of parties usually are not included into circuit commissions. By the way, the electoral legislation doesn’t oblige local authorities to explain their decisions. In addition, the latter ones are not subject to appeal.
Stefanovich: -- It is clear that parties will hurry to nominate as soon as possible, because often they are told they are too late and the commissions have been already formed. Last year the authorities said that the party members had no experience of work in the commissions. Finally, at an OSCE seminar the CEC head Lidziya Yarmoshyna stated that representatives of parties had no experience of work in the commissions and, in addition, were trouble-makers, who interfered with the work of the commissions. I don’t think there will be any exceptions this year and representatives of parties will be admitted there.
-- Before that, dozens of people weren’t included into circuit commissions and nobody explained reasons. They simply weren’t included, because it was considered inexpedient. The committees were formed mainly of the people who were loyal to the authorities and only a few representatives of the opposition, -- recollects the leader of the Party of Communists of Belarus Siarhey Kaliakin. – I had a talk with the CEC secretary Lazavik. He said that they won’t take any new formal digressions from the law.
Meanwhile, the CEC elaborates the draft of the presidential decree about inclusion of representatives of parties to the Central Electoral Commission.
-- We haven’t introduced it yet, because the nomination of candidates to deputy positions hasn’t started. I think it will appear in August, because the nomination will start only on 8 August. At present its existence or absence doesn’t stimulate anyone, -- said the head of the Central Electoral Commission Lidziya Yarmoshyna.
Unlike in circuit commissions, in CEC representatives of political parties will have the right of advisory vote. The lawyer Valiantsin Stefanovich is of the opinion that this decree won’t solve the problem:
-- Even if representatives of parties are admitted to CEC, it will be only for a month, when all electoral stages – registration and forming of polling station and circuit commissions are over. What will the party representatives do there? Simply show their presence? Moreover, the CEC doesn’t directly conduct the election, as a polling station commission. It is very important to have representatives of political parties in polling station commissions. In CEC it is very formal and useless. It is desirable only for the authorities, so that they can speak of liberalization of the legislation.
By the way, nomination of representatives to polling station electoral campaigns will begin after the establishment of polling stations, in the middle of August.