Mahiliou: None of independent observers managed to get to first sessions of district election commissions
Mahiliou human rights activist Barys Bukhel reports, none of independent observers managed to get to first sessions of district election commissions in Mahiliou. “This happens because of the fact that there are the so called “holes” in the law. Neither the Election Code, nor the CEC rulings describe the procedure of observers’ registration before first sessions of all election commissions. There is also no mechanism how the observers can get to first sessions of the commissions.
All CEC rulings that regulate the activity of observers say that observers are to submit their documents one day before the observation begins. Besides that, Article 37 of the Election Code says, the first organizational sessions of district election commissions are to be held no later than 3 days after their creation.”
Barys Bukhel points out, “There are 5 election districts in Mahiliou (## 84-88). All district election commissions held their first sessions on the day of their creation, although according to the law they were to be held at least on the next day. I addressed head of the regional executive committee Barys Batura, head of the department for organizational work Sivayeu, and senior specialist of that department Ludmila Makaranka with the question how to become an observer of first sessions of the district election commissions and submit observer’s documents to the commissions which had not been created yet. They refused to answer and help me with that issue.”
“Being aware of that problem, -- the human rights activist points out, -- together with Uladzimir Krauchanka, director of Mahiliou Human Rights Center NGO, organized a meeting of the NGO, which sent four observers to Mahiliou election district. Mahiliou regional organization of BPF Adradzhennie, the regional committee of PCB, Otklik NGO and the regional organization of UCP nominated 5, 3, 1 and 1 observer, respectively. At a joint session of the presidium of the regional Council and the regional executive committee, which formed district election commissions in Mahiliou region, I asked, where I should submit the documents of 14 observers nominated by our organizations. They gave me no answer. They told me to address the local administrations. However, when I came to Leninski administration of Mahiliou, they sent me back to the regional executive committee – the place I had just come from!”
The administration of Leninski district in Mahiliou told Barys Bukhel, the first sessions of the created election commissions in districts # 84 and # 85 would take place after 3 p.m. They refused to receive nomination papers of observers from the pro-democratic organizations. The observers arrived to the session of election commissions at about 2 p.m. However, they were told the first sessions of the election commissions had already taken place.
The same happened at other districts.
“I made a call to the district executive committee of Mahiliou rural district, -- Vital Makaranka, BPF observer, says – with the question what time the session of the election commission would take place. I was told the commission would gather “after lunch”. When I arrived there at 2 p.m., I was told, the meeting had already taken place and the people were already gone.”
Human Rights Defenders for Free Elections