Svetlahorsk: teachers are forcibly included in electoral commissions
A teacher from Salihorsk who did not want her name to be mentioned, told how the electoral commissions were formed there. ‘Piatro Kulakouski, master of our gymnasium, summonsed the teachers one by one and told them he included them in the electoral commissions. Most of the teachers are women who do not want to participate in any commissions. When they tried to refuse, he reminded them that it would be taken into consideration when the question of prolonging the working contracts to them was considered.’
The law on elections provides the possibility of nomination to polling station commissions at assemblies of working collectives. Are they conducted for nomination of the teachers?
‘Which assemblies do you mean? It is summer and teachers are on vacations. The schoolmaster just called them to his office and put them in the list of commission members. He will be the head of the commission, as it was during all previous elections,’ said the teacher. She believes that the same situation exists in other schools.
During previous elections representatives of opposition stated that the electoral commissions fraud the votes. What is the attitude of teachers to this?
‘When the votes are calculated, each receives a heap of ballots to calculating, and the total number is known only to the head of the commission. Then all commission members have to sign the composed protocol. You should understand that it is not of much interest to any of the commission members, they only think about finishing it and getting home earlier.’
Are there no people to work in commissions but the teachers who are forced to them?
‘Candidacies to the election commissions can be nominated by not only by working collectives, but also by political parties and by collecting of signatures of citizens. However, the authorities tend not to include any of the latter ones, though these people are ready to participate,’ said Sviatlana Mikhalchanka, activist of the Party of Communists Belarusian in Svetlahorsk.
Human rights activists for free elections