CEC Members without Right to Vote (Political Party Representatives) Speak about Results of Candidates Registration, Stress Numerous Flaws in District Commissions’ Work
On September 29 CEC members without the right to vote (representatives of UCP, BPF, CPB, and BSDP “NH” political parties) held a press conference in the office of United Civic Party. They reviewed candidates’ registration procedure and emphasized numerous drawbacks in the work of district election commissions.
Alena Skryhan, CEC member without the right to vote from Party of Communists of Belarus says: “I have several remarks on the issues which were the most weak in the work of district election commissions. First of all, I would mention the issue of income declaration. I think political parties are to propose some changes in the Election Law in the sphere of income declaration. Declaration is supposed to give the voters an idea, if the life standard of a certain candidate corresponds to his job. In reality, declaration turns out to be the tool to keep the potential candidates out of the race. I will give an example of 20 roubles Honored Artist Zinaida Bandarenka failed to indicate in one of the columns. Could the district election commissions solve such issues on the spot? Of course, they could. But this was one of the tools of psychological pressure on candidates. District commissions told those who were denied registration: “You can complain, but nothing will help you”. Many candidates decided not to file complaints. This was the end of their “race”. Some candidates were really terrorized. Regarding candidates’ nomination by signature collection, practically all candidates state that commissions checked all 100% of signatures. The Election Code does not prescribe the procedure for selecting signatures for examination. Many problems could be avoided if the work of district election commissions was transparent. On CEC sessionы we found out that many candidates had no chance to see the documents which were the basis of their non-registration. As a rule, the commissions refused to show signature sheets and other documents to potential candidates. The only exclusion was the incumbent members of parliament who could use their position and public status to solve such kind of problems. Regarding registration on behalf of political parties, we are concerned about the actions of regional Justice Departments (especially of Vitebsk, Hrodna, and Brest regional executive committees). On September 15 and 16, in violation of the law and duty instructions, they cancelled registration of local branches of political parties, depriving the candidates of the opportunity to get registered”.
Uladzimir Nistsiuk, CEC member without the right to vote from Belarusian Social Democratic Party “Narodnaya Hramada”: “I want to share my impressions, why the authorities made such a surprise move as allowing members of political opposition to the sanctum sanctorum – the Central Election Commission. Lukashenka and his circle are at bay with the situation around Belarus: they are in conflict with Europe, the United States, and Russia. In this situation Lukashenka is to have a reserve argument to justify the results of the referendum and the parliamentary election before the international community. One of the reserve measures was invitation of political parties’ representatives to CEC. Still, they did not allow our members to district and precinct election commissions. Certainly the fact that we could participate in CEDC sessions is positive. We had a chance to fight for our people. Our presence disciplined CEC members”.
Ales Bialatski, CEC member without the right to vote from Belarusian Popular Front: “I came to conclusion that, again, the main problem is the Election Code which is a perfect tool for rigging an election. It insures the executive authorities at every stage of the election, and gives them an opportunity to screen “undesired candidates” and count the votes the way they need. That’s what election commissions were formed for. I would like to remind you that district election commissions have only 3 %, and precinct commissions – only 0.2% of political party members. They have no chance to influence the vote count procedure”.
Mikhail Pliska, CEC member without the right to vote from United Civic Party: “The authorities did their best to prepare for the election. In order to achieve their goals they even illegally shut down local party structures. As the result, 6 members of our party were not registered. They could not find any other claims to these candidates. We smiled bitterly, that this way they could liquidate the whole party, shutting down all structures which nominated our candidates”.