Authorities Ignore Democratic Candidates to Circuit Electoral Commissions
RFE/RL by Ales DASHCHYNSKI
Today the preliminary results of forming of circuit electoral commissions became known. The first data from regional executive committees witness that in the majority of cases the authorities ignored the applications of democratic parties. For instance, none of the candidates to the electoral commissions that were proposed by the parties that are members of the coalition “5+” were included into the circuit electoral commissions of Mahiliow region. Only one representative of the Belarusian People’s Front Party was included into a circuit electoral commission in Minsk. In Brest the authorities admitted to the commissions a member of the BPF, a member of the United Civil Party and a member of the Belarusian Social Democratic Party (“Narodnaya Hramada”). In Homel region there are three persons from the UCP, five from the Party of Communists of Belarus and one person from the public association Belarusian People’s Front “Adradzhenne”.
In Minsk City Executive Committee I was informed that almost 52% of members of the commissions were women, a bit more than 16% were nominated by political parties and almost 31% -- by public associations. Most of those who were nominated by political parties were members of Belarusian Liberal Democratic Party, Party of Communists of Belarus, Communist Party of Belarus and Social Sportive Party.
According to the organization department of Mahiliow Regional Executive Committee, oppositional were allegedly prepared too bad for the nomination – they nominated mostly either unemployed and pensioners who were more than 80 years old, incorrectly filled documents or nominated representatives who had no experience of the work in the commissions. On the other hand, Mahiliow authorities included into the commissions two persons from the BLDP and the PCB.
From public associations there were included representatives of the official trade unions, Belarusian Republican Youth Union, the union of Afghanistan war veterans, Belarusian Red Cross and Belarusian association of veterans, all of which are controlled by the authorities. A considerable part of the members of electoral commissions were nominated by collection of signatures and by applications of working collectives.
The UCP member Siarhey Alfer thusly commented on the situation:
Alfer: -- Of course, one person can’t have much influence on the decisions that are taken by the commissions and therefore the commissions will take the decisions they are told to take by the executive committees and the authorities in general.
One more commentary by Mikola Stakevich, head of Belarusian Social Democratic Party:
Statkevich: -- It’s clear that the votes will be calculated not in the circuit commissions, but somewhere nearby, in the organization departments of local administrations. People are not included into the commissions so that they wouldn’t deal with the calculation of votes. Most probably, there will be the following scenario: every circuit electoral commission will receive its numbers in advance and the head of the commission will have to call these numbers.
In Minsk the authorities didn’t include into circuit election commission the candidate from the BPF, professional lawyer, participant of the monitoring of the election, organized by the OSCE mission in Kossovo Valiantsin Stefanovich.
Stefanovich: -- It is clear that during the election to the Chamber of Representatives the authorities are going to continue the practice they have used for several years already. We should expect a very violent campaign. The confrontation between the candidates of the oppositional parties and the official ones will be very violent. Naturally, that all this process will be controlled by the executive authorities.
At the previous Parliamentary election of 2000 only representatives of both communist parties and the BLDP were included into circuit electoral commissions. Among 1 400 members of the commissions there were 59 representatives of the PCB, 38 – from the pro-presidential CPB and 29 – from BLDP.