Mahiliou: Members of district election commission did not collect signatures?

2008 2008-07-28T12:53:00+0300 1970-01-01T03:00:00+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

Member of Belarusian Helsinki Committee Natalia Samakhvalava suspects, all eight members of district election commission # 87, nominated by signature collection, did not collect signatures for their nomination.


“I learned from the secretary of election commission # 87, -- observer Natalia Samakhvalava says, -- that 8 out of 13 commission members had been nominated by signature collection. Chair of the commission Maryna Snytko was also nominated by signature collection. At the same time, she was head of social protection department of Kastrychnitski district executive committee. For some reason she was not nominated by her work collective”.

Samakhvalava gathered 120 signatures in order to become member of the election commission, but did not become member of the commission.

“We were given district maps with their borders ahead of time. When I met commission chair Snytko, I asked her how many signatures she collected and on which streets. She answered she did not remember the number, and named the street from the neighboring district,” – the observer says, -- “When I told her the street was in the wrong district, Ms. Snytko was taken aback but then ran up to the map on the wall and gave the names of the streets that were on our district. I asked her to give the exact numbers of the apartment buildings where she collected signatures but she asked me if I was going to check how she did the signature collection.”

In search of the truth Natalia came to Ludmila Makaranka, head of the organizational department of Mahiliou regional executive committee. She asked her to show the signature sheets of all eight members of the election commission, who had been nominated by signature collection.

“Ms. Makaranka told me to come on Monday, and she would show me all the signature sheets”, -- Natalia Samakhvalava continues, - “However, on Monday the police officer on duty did not allow me to enter her office. On Tuesday the situation repeated. On Wednesday I managed to reach her by phone, and they let me through. However, Ms. Makaranka refused to give the signature sheets to me. From the sheets which she showed from a distance I saw that they were filled in with the same handwriting, and only the signatures were different. Ms. Makaranka claimed the voters came to her office themselves to put their signatures in support of this or that commission member. I told her I didn’t believe 100 voters came to sign for each of eight commission members”.

The observer points out she remembered the name of one commission member and several addresses of people who had allegedly put their signatures for her. In the near future she is going to check if the voters really put their signatures for the commission member, if they really came to the executive committee to sign for her, and if the addresses really exist.

“I had a feeling that something was wrong when Ms. Makaranka said the people came on their own to put their signatures for commission members, and the sheets were filled in with one handwriting”, -- Natalia says.

Human Rights Defenders for Free Elections