Information about registration of initiative groups

2008 2008-08-14T20:28:23+0300 1970-01-01T03:00:00+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

According to the present legislation (Article 65 of the Electoral Code) nomination of candidates for deputies to the Chamber of Representatives of the National Assembly of the Republic of Belarus can be conducted by means of collection of electors’ signatures by a group of not less than 10 citizens (initiative group). The list of the members of an initiative group (in which its head must be specified) and the application for registration of the initiative group must be submitted to a constituent electoral commission not later than 65 days prior to the Election Day. These documents are to be submitted by the person who seeks nomination as a candidate for deputy. The list must include the following data: name, patronymic, surname, birth date, profession, position (employment), place of work, place of residence and membership in parties for the person who intends to become a candidate for deputy; the name, patronymic, surname, birth date and the place of residence for each member of the initiative group.

The constituency electoral commission must consider these documents in five-day term and register the initiative group providing the documents they correspond to the norms of the present legislation. After registration, the commission must issue to the members of the initiative group appropriate certificates and blanks for collecting signatures.

A constituency electoral commission can refuse to register an initiative group if:

-         the person who intends to become a candidate for parliament is not a citizen of the Republic of Belarus or does not live on the territory of Belarus;

-         the initiative group includes less than ten persons;

-         the principle of free participation in elections was violated while forming the initiative group;

-         persons who do not posses electoral rights were included in the initiative group;

-         any other norms of the Electoral Code were violated.

The ruling on refusal to register one’s initiative group must be issued to the applicant or sent to him/her as registered letter not later than the next day after its adoption.

According to the official schedule the process of applying for registration of initiative groups finished on 24 June and the constituency electoral commissions decided on their registration till 29 July 2008.

According to the information of the Central electoral commission, constituency electoral commissions received 454 applications for registration of initiative groups. The constituency electoral commissions refused to register 23 groups, 8 applicants revoked their applications and one application was not considered because it was filed after the established deadline.

The most widespread reason for non-registration became the accusation in inclusion of citizens in the initiative groups without their knowledge about it. Constituency electoral commissions refused to register such groups referring to Article 5 of the Electoral Code – violation of the principle of free participation in elections. The commissions ignored the statements that some people had to refuse from participation in the initiative groups because of pressurization from the side of their bosses and secret services. In particular, in Vitsebsk-Horki constituency #17 three persons revoked their statements for participation in Tatsiana Seviarynets’ initiative group on the eve of its registration. As Mrs. Seviarynets informed, two of them were pressurized at work and the third, Lidziya Karpovich, was threatened with eviction from the hostel where she was living with her under-aged children.

The initiative group of a member of the Belarusian Popular Front Party D.Vinahradau was not registered by constituency electoral commission #68 in Vileika after one of the group’s members stated he had been included there without his knowledge. On 28 July Mr.Vinahradau’s car was detained by road police when he was driving to the commission to submit a new list of members of the initiative group. He was kept at Miadzel district police department till the end of the sitting of the constituency electoral commission. They explained it with the need to check whether Vinahradau’s car had not been stolen from someone.

As a result of pressurization from the side of an enterprise belonging to the Belarusian railroad a member of the Belarusian Social Democratic Party (Hramada) Mikhail Shpakouski had to refuse from registering his initiative group at Chyhunachnaya district electoral commission #19 in Vitsebsk.

In nine cases registration denials were appealed against to the Central electoral commission. One of the complaints was satisfied. The majority of the complaints were not considered by the Central electoral commission as they had been filed after the expiry of the legal three-day term.

A suit against the refusal to register Mr. Vinahradau’s initiative group was submitted to the Supreme Court. On 6 August the Supreme Court supported the position of the electoral authorities and confirmed the legality of the registration denial. Vinahradau’s complaint against the lawless actions of the police was directed to the general procuracy for a check-up.

All in all, 423 initiative groups were registered. 310 of these groups were registered by non-partisans.

What concerns political parties, their members got the following number of groups registered:

-         the Agrarian Party – 1

-         the Workers’ Party of Labor and Justice – 1

-         the Belarusian Social Democratic Hramada – 9

-         the Belarusian Social Democratic Party (Hramada) – 16

-         the Party of Communists Belarusian – 18

-         the Belarusian Popular Front Party – 21

-         the Communist Party of Belarus – 19

-         The United Civil Party – 27.

The comparative results of registration of initiative groups





Number of applications for registration




Number of registered groups




Number of registration denials

15 (4,58%)

71 (11,2%)

23 (5,07%)

The comparative results of registration of members of oppositional parties’ initiative groups






























5+ Coalition (without the Belarusian Social Democratic Party (Narodnaya Hramada))
applied – 138

registered – 122

not registered – 16 (11,6%)

The United Democratic Forces Coalition
applied – 106

registered – 103
not registered – 3 (2,8%)




not registered – 15 (30%)

The European Coalition
applied – 64

registered – 63
not registered – 1 (1.6%)

The analysis of the results of registration of initiative groups let us state that the number of registration denials has become twice smaller in comparison to the previous electoral campaign. And the number of registration denials to the initiative groups of the united opposition’s representatives is about one tenth of what it used to be.

The initiative groups of some candidates of the opposition were registered before the end of the deadline for applications on registration of initiative groups. In particular, the following day after the commission of Brest eastern electoral constituency #3 was formed the initiative group of a candidate of the United Democratic Forces Ihar Maslouski was registered. Its members received the appropriate certificates and blanks for collecting signatures. On 25 July 2008 Belavezhskaya electoral constituency commission #8 registered the initiative group of a member of the BSDP (NH) Uladzimir Vauraniuk.

As a rule, observers had an opportunity to attend sittings of the constituency commissions. Often they said that the sittings were held in a favorable atmosphere. On the other hand, in some cases observers weren’t given precise information about the time of the sittings of circuit commissions and thereby were not admitted to these sittings, which violates the principles of openness and publicity at elections. For instance, such things happened at Leninskaya constituency #78 and Pershamaiskaya constituency #79 in Babruisk.

The refusals to provide to observers any information about the initiative groups, their contact addresses and telephones their heads and the persons whose candidates are nominated for the elections do not foster the development of the principles of openness and publicity either. The commission of village constituency #7 in Babruisk did not provide complete information even to its member Yan Savitski. The head of the commission P.Dubrouski said that giving such information to other people was interference with the private life of the commission’s members.

Human rights activists continue monitoring of the electoral campaign.