Vitsebsk oblast: district electoral commissions were formed in half-closed regime

2008 2008-07-15T21:41:53+0300 1970-01-01T03:00:00+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

In Vitsebsk oblast the formation of the district commission on elections to the Chamber of Representatives took place in half-closed regime. Non-state journalists and common people were not admitted to the joint sitting of Vitsebsk oblast executive committee and the presidium of Vitsebsk oblast soviet of deputies at which the commission were formed. The police guards had two lists of persons: the list of participants of the sitting and the list of those who were allowed presence at it. The second list included representatives of state mass media: journalists for Vitsebsk oblast TV and radio committee, BelTA information agency and the editions of Vitsebsk oblast executive committee and Vitsebsk oblast soviet of deputies – Vitsebski rabochy and Narodnaye Slova respectively.

It was difficult to find about the exact time of the sitting. By the way, it started only at 4 p.m. The state officials evaded from answering such questions of democratic activists. As a result those who wanted to attend the sitting had to come in the beginning of the working day and wait to be informed about the time of the sitting.

The representative of the Belarusian Helsinki Committee Vasil Berasneu came to the sitting from the town of Orsha and the journalist of the Tovarishch newspaper Mikalai Petrushenka came from the town of Kokhanava. The well-known human rights activist Valer Shchukin and the independent journalist Vadzim Barshcheuski also wanted to attend the settings. Petrushenka and Shchukin, former deputies of the Supreme Soviet of the Republic of Belarus (which later was replaced by the Chamber of Representatives) paid visits to the offices of many officials to get access, but received refusals. At first they explained it by the fact that the journalists did not present any mission certificates from mass media. Then, when they brought it, the refusals were explained by the absence of official accreditations at Vitsebsk oblast executive committee and the presidium of Vitsebsk oblast soviet of deputies.

The journalists had nothing to do but put their remarks in the complaint book, which was issued to them after some hesitations. The complaint was written by M.Petrushenka on behalf of all those who were not admitted to the sitting.

It was also very hard to find about the results of formation of district electoral commissions, as the working day was over and nobody put up the telephone receivers at state organs.

All in all, 14 district electoral commissions were formed in Vitsebsk oblast. 182 persons were included in them. Only 18 representatives of political parties got to these commissions. The majority of them belong to pro-presidential parties: the Agrarian Party and the Communist Party of Belarus. The remaining six represent the opposition: Natallia Kachanava (the Belarusian Social Democratic Party Hramada), included in Vitsebsk Chyhunachny district electoral commission #1; Mikhail Hil (BSDP Hramada) – Pastavy district electoral commission #29; Liubou Shchadrova (the Party of Communists Belarusian) – Polatsk district electoral commission #28, Stsiapan Bely (the party of Communists Belarusian) – Sianno district electoral commission #30; Vasil Salanenka (the Belarusian Popular Front Party) – Hlybokaye district electoral commission #22 and Yudau (the United Civil Party) – Miory district electoral commission #24. The first five ran to the commissions on the single list of the United Democratic Forces, and the latter one – on a separate party list of the United Civil Party.

Human rights activists for free elections