Electoral Process: Initiative Groups of Opposition’s Candidates Not Registered on the Whole Territory of Belarus
The election to local deputy soviets that has been appointed on 14 January 2007 has come to a new stage. At present election commissions are registering the initiative groups of the persons, who intend to become candidates to deputy positions. According to the law these initiative groups are necessary for collecting signatures for nomination of a person as a candidate at the election.
The commission of Astravets election circuit #47 on election to Hrodna Regional Deputy Soviet hasn’t registered the initiative group of Mikalai Ulasevich, a resident of the town of Varniany and a member of the United Civil Party.
The formal reason for non-registration was the alleged violation of article #5 of the Election Code of the Republic of Belarus. ‘We have received an application in which a citizen stated he was included into the initiative group without his own agreement, which is a violation of the principle of free participation in elections’, reads the letter that was sent to Mr Ulasevich by the election commission. However, the commission didn’t specify who of the eight members of the initiative group filed such statement. Mr Ulasevich intends to appeal the commission’s ruling and struggle for the registration for his initiative group.
According to RFE/RL, the initiative group of the deputy of Babruisk City Deputy Soviet Ales Chyhir hasn’t been registered as well. The formal reason for the non-registration is a mistake in the filed documents. In a telephone talk Mr Chyhir said that he put a wrong number of the election circuit in the list of members of his initiative group. He believes it is just a technical mistake and the commission’s actions are biased. He says that the election commission was to have compared his statement about the intention to run for a deputy position with the list of the members of his initiative group and have taken decision on the basis of the statement.
Ales Chyhir has filed complaints with the Central Election Commission and Mahiliou Regional Election Commission. While the complaints are considered Mr Chyhir is collecting signatures for his friends from the local coalition For Freedom. He is a member of 11 initiative groups.
In Hrodna an election commission refused to register the initiative group of Iaraslau Ramanchuk, a member of the United Civil Party. He was to have run at election circuit #3 in Hrodna. The commission refused to register the initiative group because Mr Ramanchuk didn’t live on the territory of the circuit and couldn’t be found in the database of Belarus’ citizens.
The chair of Hrodna regional UCP branch Iury Istomin believes that Iaraslau Ramanchuk had a right to run as a member of the party that operates on the whole territory of Belarus.
According to RFE/RL, UCP intends to appeal the commissions ruling to Hrodna Regional Election Commission.
In Mahiliou the initiative group of the chair of Mahiliou city branch of Civil Forum Siarhei Laputsin wasn’t registered. In his interview to RFE/RL Siarhei Laputsin said that members of the election commission asked Andrei Karetnik, a member of his initiative group, to write a confirmation that he was a member of the initiative group of another candidate. Mr Karetnik didn’t suspect anything and did as they told.
Siarhei Laputsin considers it as a provocation of the local authorities and counteraction to the activity of Civil Forum. It’s worth mentioning that Mr Laputsin was a witness in the criminal case against members of the public initiative for election monitoring Partnership and was summonsed to numerous interrogations by KGB.