Election Commissions Refuse to Cooperate with Observers
The Belarusian Helsinki Committee (BHC) said that observers have problem getting any information from poll workers during the early voting stage of local elections that began on 9 January.
’Few of our monitors have been told the total number of voters in the precinct’, said BHC executive director Aleh Hulak. ‘It’s impossible altogether to obtain any data about how many people have voted and how many ballots have been supplied to the polling station’. Poll workers have refused to reply even to written requests for such information, according to the activist.
Mr. Hulak stressed that candidates in the elections have few campaigning opportunities, which he said has been acknowledged even by Lidziia Iarmoshyna, head of the central election commission. ‘I’m holding a map of the number 27 Sukharauski election district. There are more than 20 000 voters in it. And there is only one venue where campaigning materials may be displayed and candidates may meet with voters. It is located nearly on a construction site on the outskirts of the district,’ the human rights organization`s representative noted.
Mr. Hulak sounded an alarm over reports that what is called ‘pre-election meetings’ will be held at state-run companies and schools on 11 and 12 January. ‘The strangest thing is that this will not be candidates` meetings with voters. They will be held by the institutions` administrations and ideological workers. It is possible that those attending such meetings will be offered to vote early,’ Mr. Hulak said.