BPF Party Demands Right to Agitation “against” Referendum
Central Commission of the Republic of Belarus on elections and holding of republican referenda, Minsk, Savetskaya Street, 11
Belarusian TV and Radio Company, Minsk, Makayonak Street, 9
Editorial office of the “Sovetskaya Belorussiya” newspaper, Minsk, Khmelnitskaha Street, 10A
Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Belarus, Minsk, Kalektarnaya Street, 10
Ministry of Information of the Republic of Belarus, Minsk, Masheraw Street, 11
BPF Party, Minsk, Varvashenia Street, 8
On 7 September 2004 president signed the decree to appoint the holding of the referendum concerning amendments to article 81 of the Constitution of the Republic of Belarus. Since 8 September Belarusian TV channels ONT, First National and Belarusian radio started to broadcast agitation trailers that are made to convince electors to vote “for” the question that is issued at the referendum. Every issue of thee daily “Panarama” program contains agitation materials, directed at support to the question that is put to the referendum. So, on 8 September state TV and radio began agitation “for” the question.
Page 2 of No. 170 (of 9 September) of the “Sovetskaya Belorussiya” (among the founders of which is presidential administration) contains agitation materials in the column “referendum”. There is the urge that is addressed to the newspaper’s readers: “We, representatives of political parties, professional unions… urge you to give unanimous support to President A. G. Lukashenko at the constitutional referendum and vote for…” In this column there are also agitation statements of foreigners, which is a gross violation of part 5 of article 45 of the Electoral Code which prohibits agitation to foreign citizens.
Article 46 of the Electoral Code of the Republic of Belarus guarantees equal right to agitation “for” or “against” the questions that are issued to referendum to political parties and other subjects. State mass media, mass media that are partly financed from the state budget or were founded by state bodies or organizations, must provide equal possibilities for agitation concerning referendum.
Being guided by the abovementioned, we DEMAND:
1. from Belarusian TV and Radio Company – to inform BPF Party about the origin of the means for which the agitation trailers in support of the question that is put to the referendum were produced.
2. from Belarusian TV and Radio Company – to give BPF Party the possibility to speak in the ether of Republican TV channels ONT and First National and in the ether of state radio stations in order to agitate “against” the question that is put to the referendum for the period of time equal to the duration of the block with agitation “for”. BPF Party is ready to independently prepare such blocks and pass them to TV channels.
3. From the editorial board of the “Sovetskaya Belorussiya” – to put publish in the nearest number agitation materials against the question that is put to the referendum in the volume, equal to the materials “for” (text of the first issue of the agitation materials is attached and is to be published on page 2). BPF Party is ready to prepare such blocks and pass to the editorial board of the newspaper.
4. from the Ministry of Information – to warn the “Sovetskaya Belorussiya” newspaper for violation of the norms of part 5 of article 45 of the Electoral Code and take measures to ensure agitation against the question that is put to the referendum on the pages of state mass media.
5. from the Ministry of Justice – to check-up the activity of the organization “Republican coordination soviet of political parties and public associations” and find out whether its governing bodies of the organizations that have relation to it any decisions to support the question that is issued to the referendum.
6. from the Central commission of the Republic of Belarus on elections and holding of republican referenda – to provide respect of articles 45 and 46 of the Electoral Code of the Republic of Belarus by all subjects of the electoral process during the agitation campaign within the limits of the republican referendum.
10 September 2004
Head of the BPF Party V. Viachorka