CEC Chair Lidya Yarmoshyna Jokes
On Saturday, September 25, the Central Election Commission continued to consider appeals of unregistered candidates. During consideration of Andrei Kazanovich’s appeal (candidate of BSDP “NH”) Lidya Yarmoshyna unexpectedly told a joke: “Could you please say, are you a party member? (In Russian, the word member has the second meaning of a “penis”). No, I am its brain”. Nobody laughed.
CEC members, chairs of district election commissions, candidates, representatives of political parties, observers, and reporters had to listen to the politically incorrect joke. We can only guess what made the CEC chairperson demonstrate her sense of humor. May be, Saturday got her in cheerful mood, or something else was the reason. Exactly on Saturday, September 25, CEC found out that United Civic Party may lose 58 parliamentary candidates in case the Ministry proved the fact that the UCP congress of 29 August was recognized illegitimate. Information that UCP congress is recognized illegitimate was voiced during consideration of appeal of UCP member, former TV host Zinaida Bandarenka. She was nominated as a candidate in Smarhon election district # 61. During the appeal consideration chair of Smarhon commission presented a fax message which said the Justice Ministry recognized the UCP congress illegitimate.
It’s worth mentioning that Andrei Kazanovich, whose complaint received such a warm welcome by Yarmoshyna, was not registered as a candidate for one of the typical reasons: lack of a local party structure in a district. The commission did not register a number of party candidates for that reason. For example, on 24 September CEC did not register Uladzimir Karpukhin (Party of Communists of Belarus, Minsk Shabany district # 93). Mikhail Pliska, CEC member without the right to vote, gave his opinion: “According to the law members of district election commissions do not have the right to check party structures. Commissions shall apply to the Justice Department with the request to carry out a check-up, if the party structure really exists. Here it was quite the opposite. The district election commission held an examination, and then they made a phone call to the Justice Department. The Justice Department staff, on their turn, do not even check the situation themselves but make the decision that the structure does not exist. Why do demand from political parties and other structures to follow the law, and violate it yourself? If a Justice Department is not satisfied with the activity of a political party structure, it shall issue a warning, says the Law “On Political Parties”. We will address not only the Ministry of Justice asking to cancel the illegal decisions; we will also apply to the Prosecutor General”.
Chair of the closed down Labor Party Alexander Bukhvostaw (Vasniatsova election district # 95) was not registered for another typical reason: over 15% of signatures were recognized inaccurate. The total of 15.4 % of signatures was recognized inaccurate through a graphology expert examination. On 24 September Alexander Bukhvostaw stated at the CEC session: “I have all rights to challenge results of the expert examination and demand a double check. I took the copies of the signature sheets to the commission of experts and they said the signatures were ok. But for official expert examination they need the original signature sheets which are kept by the district commission. I think it was the goal of the election commission to exclude me from the race. I can prove the examination results are false. Nine of the people whose signatures had been recognized invalid confirmed in writing that the signatures are theirs. Why don’t they believe these people? That’s why I demand a double check by independent experts”.
Alena Skryhan, PCB, CEC member without the right to vote, spoke in support of Alexander Bukhvostaw: “In this case 4 signatures decide the fate of a person. If during the double check CEC found the possibility to find to signatures accurate, I am sure if examination is more thorough, there will be a possibility to find two more accurate signatures. It needs to be done. Because this is the case of pressure on a closed political party, and the independent trade union”.