BPF Candidate in Svetlahorsk Not Allowed to Organize Pickets and Has His Program Censored
Viktar Ramanishka, BPF candidate from Svetlahorsk addressed the Central Election Commission. He complains about the local authorities who refuse to determine places where he can organize campaign pickets. He also filed a complaint to CEC, city prosecutor, and district commission about the censorship: the official newspaper printed the abridged version of his program.
According to Viktar Ramanishka, the local authorities failed to determine the places for pickets for all candidates. All attempts to fulfill the legal right to organize campaign pickets have no result. The executive committee demands the candidates should apply for permission 15 days prior to the event, as it is described in the law on street actions. The arguments that in other cities the authorities determined over a 100 places for pickets, and candidates campaign freely are not accepted. Uladzimir Kukar, deputy head for ideology, says: “may be in Minsk it’s like this, but we will have it our own way”.
There are interesting circumstances to the case: Mr. Kukar is deputy head of the district election commission. His direct boss Valantsina Kavalova, chief ideologist in Svetlahorsk, is running in this district.
“Together with my colleague candidate from PCB Sviatlana Mikhalchanka we will file a complaint that the authorities actively campaign for their representative Valantsina Kavalova, -- says Ramanishka, -- They use such opportunities as various “information hours”, “technical security days”, etc. Director of Svetlahorsk Khimvalakno enterprise made a verbal order to all managers to agitate to vote for Kavalova. Obviously, governmental candidates do not need pickets or meetings with voters”.
According to Mr. Ramanishka, Svetlahorskiya Naviny official newspaper cut down and distorted his platform. The editors changed the words “Lukashenka’s regime” to “the incumbent President”, and cut out the paragraph against the referendum. In this paragraph the candidate stated that would be not only the third, but fourth, fifth terms. “As the result we will get not a president who is elected by people, but a despotic sovereign”. He also urged the people to say “no” to Lukashenka’s attempts.
“Such officials as the newspaper editor are afraid of their own shadow. They just play safe”, -- Ramanishka points out.
According to unchecked data, Valantsina Kavalova, as the executive committee’s director for ideology, edited the programs of the candidates.
Viktar Ramanishka also encountered problems in leaflet printing. He ordered the leaflets from Rechytsa state-run printing press “Tytul”. “They told me one price, and after I ordered the leaflets they doubled it and printed only 10, 000 leaflets instead of 20, 000. I think they did it on purpose”, -- says Viktar Ramanishka.
Several days ago, when Ramanishka traveled to Homel to order posters, his car was stopped and searched by road police twice: on the way to Homel, and back. First time the police officers claimed they had information that the car was used by bandits. The second time other police officers admitted that they had received an order to stop him from the regional police department.
On Monday, October 4 Viktar Ramanishka will pick up his leaflets and posters from the printing presses. According to the candidate, in view of such searches he has all grounds to anticipate seizure of his election materials.