Formation of election commissions

2008 2008-08-21T01:57:11+0300 1970-01-01T03:00:00+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”


Formation of election commissions

Legal regulations

  Aсcording to Article 28 of the Election Code, preparation and organization of the election to the Chamber of Representatives is provided for by the district and precinct election commissions.  


According to Article 34 of the Election Code, precinct commissions for election to the Chamber of Representatives are formed of 5-19 people by rayon and city executive committees (in cities with rayon division – by rayon administrations) no later than 45 days before election.

The decision about forming commissions with indicated membership, location, phone numbers shall be published in the press or brought to notice of citizens (voters) by other means during 7 days.

Outside the Republic of Belarus during the elections to the Chamber of Representatives precinct commissions are created by heads of diplomatic missions (consulates) of the Republic of Belarus, which act on the territory of foreign states.  

The procedure of nominating representatives to precinct commissions is regulated by Article   35 of the Election Code.  According to the Article, political parties, other non-governmental organizations, work collectives of organizations or collectives of their structural units, as well as citizens by signature collection can nominate only one representative to a corresponding precinct election commission.    

the following bodies are entitled to nominate representatives to precinct commissions:

-- governing bodies of oblast, Minsk city, rayon, city (in the cities of rayon subordination), city rayon organizational structures of political parties, and other non-governmental organizations, which have subordinated structures; 

-- governing bodies of city (in cities with rayon subordination) organizational structures of political parties and other non-governmental organizations, which have lower organizational structures, or conferences of their primary organizations. primary organization of a political party, or another non-governmental organization is entitled to nominate a representative to the precinct election commission of the precinct, where the primary organization is located.

-- meetings (conferences) of work collectives of organizations that are located on the territory of a rayon, city, city rayon, town, village and have no less than 30 employees.   Representatives to precinct election commissions can also be nominated by work collectives of their structural units which have no less than 10 employees.  If representatives are nominated by collectives of structural units, nomination of representatives from the whole work collective of the organization is not carried out. Meeting is competent if it was attended by more than half of the work collective. Conferences in work collectives are held if calling a meeting gets complicated because of the big number of employees, multiple shifts or territorial detachment of structural units, and is competent if no less than two thirds of the delegates elected in the order set up by the collective, are present.  A meeting (conference) of work collective makes decisions by the majority of votes of its participants.  

-- citizens who have the right to vote, through submitting an application signed by no less than 10 citizens who live in the precinct.

-- {0>-- органы, якія ўтвараюць камісіі.Паводле Каляндарнага плана, вылучэнне ў склад участковых камісій ажыццяўлялася да 10 жніўня ўключна.<}0{>»Bodies that create commissions.

According to the Calendar Plan, nomination to precinct election commissions continued until August 10th, inclusive. «<0}

Creation of precinct election commissions was to be finished by no later than August 13th.


Local mass media should to publish lists of members of precinct election commissions during 7 days.


According to the secretary of the Central Election Commission Mikalai Lazavik, 73,576 people were nominated to 6,485 precinct election commissions. More than half of the contenders -- 37,936 – were nominated by citizens through signature collection; work collectives nominated 24,144 contenders, political parties -- 1,237, and non-governmental organizations – 10 259.

Among the political parties the biggest number of contenders was nominated by Party of Communists of Belarus – 425.  The United Civic Party nominated 344 contenders, BPF Party – 201, the Communist Party of Belarus – 195, the Belarusian Social Democratic Party (Hramada) – 70. The Agrarian Party and the Republican Party of Labor and Justice nominated one representative each. This way, representatives of political parties made up 1.7 % of the total number of people nominated to precinct commissions; 84.1% of them are representatives of the parties in opposition.  

Among the non-governmental organizations the biggest number of contenders was nominated by the Belarusian Republican Youth Union (BRSM) -- -2,518; Belaya Rus nominated 1,817 contenders, the Belarusian Union of Women – 1 051, the Belarusian Association of Veterans – 612, the Belarusian Union of Officers – 60, and BPF Adradzhennie – 113.

The entities which are part of the UDF coalition nominated 1 515 contenders. they nominated contenders both by meetings of organizational structures and through signature collection. Under the UDF decision, the applications for nomination of contenders through signature collection indicated their party membership.

Observers pointed out, the process of nominating contenders to precinct election commissions was carried out without obstacles, all interested parties had an opportunity to apply for registration.  At the same time, observers registered facts of pressure on nominees by the management of enterprises and administrations of educational establishments with the goal to make them withdraw the submitted applications.

Formation results  

The general number of people who became members of precinct election commissions, was 69,845.  36,071 out of them were nominated by citizens through signature collection, 21,869 – by work collectives, 9,032 – by non-governmental organizations, 2,712 – by bodies that create commissions, and only 161 represent political parties.  116 representatives of the Communist Party of Belarus (CPB), 3 – of the patriotic Party, 1 – of the Agrarian Party, and 1 – of the Republican Party of Labor and Justice were included in the precinct election commissions.  As for the parties in opposition, 29 representatives of the Party of Communists of Belarus (PCB), 7 – of the United Civic Party (UCP), and 4 – of BPF Party became members of precinct election commissions.

As for the general number of representatives of all entities that are members of the UDF, only a small part of them were included in precinct commissions: 48 out of 1,515 nominees, which is 3.1 %.  This way, the UDF representatives make up only 0, 07% of the total number of precinct commissions members.  That is smaller than the number of pro-democratic representatives in the precinct commissions during the previous parliamentary election in 2004 (0.2 %).

Table: Results of nomination and formation of precinct election commissions for the UDF representatives


BPF Party/BPF Adradzhennie NGO




Movement For Freedom

nominated to precinct commissions






nominated to precinct commissions from political part ies






became members of precinct commissions






* the total number of people nominated by a political party, including people nominated by signature collection with indication of contender’s political party or NGO membership.  

It should be pointed out, that many representatives of pro-democratic forces became members of precinct election commissions in “closed” precincts (hospitals, military units, health centers, dispensers, etc.) .


-- lack of transparency

Formation of precinct election commissions was even less transparent that formation of district election commissions. Sessions of rayon executive committees and rayon administrations (in the cities with rayon division) were often (in most cases) closed for public.   Representatives of non-governmental organizations, independent media were not admitted, while nominees to precinct commissions were not invited to the sessions.  

For instance, observers from Belarusian Helsinki Committee R. Yurhel, M. Voran, A. Yanushkevich, S. Rudkouskaya were denied entrance to the sessions of Leninski and Kastrychnitski rayon administrations of Hrodna which formed the precinct commissions.  

Similar situation was registered by monitors in other rayons of Hrodna oblast.  

Observers were denied information about the time and place of such sessions. For instance, observer Dzmitry Slutski (Hronda Paunochnaya district # 51) made numerous calls to Leninski rayon administration of Hrodna with the request to inform him about the date and time of the session at which precinct commissions were to be formed. Every time he was told the information was not yet available.  That continued until he received the answer from the administration that the session had already taken place. Executive officer of the administration Aleh Bialinski and the officer who refused to introduce herself only recommended the monitors to read Hrodzenskaya Prauda newspaper, which was to publish the lists of all precinct election commissions. In Masty district monitors Liavon Karpovich, Aleh Ramashkevich, and Anatol Valiuk also did not manage to find out the date and time of the administration’s session. Hrodna monitors pointed out, the sessions were very short and were held without appropriate discussion of representatives nominated to precinct commissions. Information about the number of nominees to precinct election commissions was restricted completely.

{0>12 жніўня праходзілі паседжанні Салігорскага, Слуцкага, Клецкага і Нясвіжскага райвыканкамаў па пытанні фармавання ўчастковых камісій.<}0{>On August 12th Salihorsk, Slutsk, Kletsk, and Niasvizh rayon executive committees held sessions for forming precinct commissions.<0} {0>Назіральнікамі ад РПГА "БХК" загадзя былі прадстаўленыя ў выканкамы пісьмовыя заявы з просьбай дапусціць іх на гэтыя паседжанні.<}0{>BHC observers applied in advance in writing with the request to allow them to be present during those sessions.<0} {0>Назіральнік Алег Нікулін, якога дапусцілі на паседжанне Клецкага райвыканкама, прыкладна праз 15 хвілін пасля пачатку папрасіў прадставіць яму магчымасць азнаёміцца з пратаколамі і заявамі аб вылучэнні ў склад камісій.<}0{>Observer Aleh Nikulin, who was admitted to the session of Kletsk rayon executive committee, asked for an opportunity to look through the minutes of meetings and applications for nomination of commission members 15 minutes after the beginning of the session.<0} {0>Пасля гэтага паседжанне Клецкага райвыканкама было абвешчана закрытым, і назіральніка выдалілі.<}0{>After that the session of Kletsk rayon executive committee was announced "closed for public" and the observer was removed from the room.<0} {0><}0{>

Observer Kazimir Kavetski was not allowed to attend Salihorsk executive committee’s session. The officials refused to present the complaint book when he wanted to write a complaint about the unlawful actions of the executive committee’s officials. {0>К.Кавецкі звярнуўся з пісьмовай заявай на імя пракурора Салігорскага раёна, у якой запатрабаваў пракурорскага рэагавання.<}0{>K. Kavetski made a written appeal to Salihork rayon prosecutor asking for his reaction. <0}

K. Kavetski made a written appeal to Salihork rayon prosecutor asking for his reaction.  Niasvizh rayon executive committee refused to provide information about date and time of the session for forming precinct election commissions to observer Uladzimir Paklonski.   Later he found out that the session of Niasvizh rayon executive committee was held on August 12th.  Observer Vital Amialkovich was also denied information about the date, time and place of the session of Slutsk rayon executive committee.  Moreover, on August 12th he visited the office of Slutsk rayon executive committee and found out the session for forming the commissions was taking place in one of the rooms. He asked for the number of the room and was denied that information. After the end of the session V. Amialkovich asked for lists of members of the formed precinct commissions. He was told, he, as a BHC observer, is entitled to observe only the actions of Slutsk district election commission, and the actions and decisions of the rayon executive committee was not his prerogative. He was explained, he would be able to see the lists of commission members from local mass media.

Similar trend was observed with sessions of rayon executive committees of Homel region.  Observers were not allowed to the sessions of Svetlahorsk, Zhlobin, and Rahachou executive committees which took place on August 12th.  Representatives of the rayon executive committee recommended the observers to find the results of forming the commissions in the local press.  The observers were also not allowed to see the documents (minutes of nomination meetings) which were submitted for nomination to precinct election commissions. Representatives of rayon executive committees recommended the observers to apply with their request in written form, under the Law “about citizens’ inquires”.

Observer Mikalai Ulasevich (chair of Voranava UCP organization) was not allowed to the session of Astravets rayon executive committee on August 11th, which formed the commissions, and later was denied the possibility to see the nomination minutes and the signature applications for nomination to commissions. On August 12th, deputy chair of the rayon executive committee V. Z. Svilo explained the position of the executive committee in the following way: “Astravets rayon executive committee does not think it is necessary to invite representatives of political parties, non-governmental organizations, and work collectives, who nominated their representatives to the mentioned commission to the sessions of the rayon executive committee when it is considering the issue of creating precinct commissions for election to the Chamber of Representatives". (7 UCP representatives were nominated to precinct commissions in Smarhon election district # 59).

-- formal nature of executive committees’ sessions

practically all sessions of rayon executive committees and administrations were a formality and were held without real discussion of the contenders nominated to precinct commissions. In fact, during the sessions the committees only formally approved the lists of commission members that had been formed in advance.

Observer Viktar Dashkevich who was admitted to the session of Kapyl rayon executive committee registered that the executive committee needed only 15 minutes to form the precinct election commissions.  that means, the chairman of the rayon executive committee proposed to vote for the single list. There was no consideration of applications submitted by nominees to precinct election commissions. The applications were not read out..  The observer asked to see the nomination minutes or applications submitted by nominees, but was refused.  After that the session of the executive committee was finished.

The session of Lida rayon executive committee at which BHC observer L. Anatska was present lasted from 14.30 to 16.10.  Meanwhile, the executive committee received 1035 applications for nomination of contenders in Lida election district # 54. That means, the executive committee considered each application during 5.7 seconds.  951 people were approved as members of precinct election commissions by a unanimous vote.

Observers who were allowed to the sessions of Lenisnki and Maskouski rayon administrations of Brest, and of Pruzhany, and Kamianetsk rayon executive committees, witnessed that the sessions lasted for about 10-15 minutes, there was no discussion of the contenders, the lists had been prepared in advance and were approved unanimously.

-- groundless refusals to nominees to the commissions

13 applications were submitted for election precinct # 62 of Mukhavets district # 4. BPF member Piotr Andryevich, nominated by signature collection, and whose application was registered under # 1, was not included in the commission with the explanation “there was not enough seats”. 15 applications were submitted for election precinct # 65 of the same Mukhavets district.. Human rights defender Uladzimir Malei, whose application was also registered under # 1, was not included in the commission with the same explanation. The executive committee argued, they decided to limit the number of members of precinct election commissions to 11 “with the purpose to save financial means”.  

-- significant coincidence with commission membership during the previous election

The majority of monitors point out, personal membership of precinct election commissions in fact coincides with the membership of precinct election commissions which worked during the election to the Chamber of Representatives of the 3rd convocation in 2004.

When we compared composition of the created precinct election commissions in Barysau rural district # 63, it turned out, out of 565 of the approved commission members 157 used to work in the commissions in 2004.  In Barysau city district # 62, 52 % of precinct commission chairmen remained the same from the previous election. Out of 46 current chairman, 24 used to occupy the same positions during the election in 2004.

-- “company” principle of forming the commissions

This time the authorities kept the tendency typical for precinct commissions in earlier elections: the commissions were formed according to the "company" principle, out of representatives of one work collective, although formal nominations were done in various ways. At the same time, as a rule, the person to whom the other commission members are subordinate to, is chosen as a commission chair.

For instance, all 15 members of precinct commission # 1 of Polatsk city district # 14 are employees of "Polatsk-Shklovalakno” glass fiber plant (the 15th member of the commission, nominated by CPB, is a pensioner who used to work at the same plant). All commission members were nominated by structural units of “Polatsak-Shklovalakno” plant. At the same time, the commission chair is the company’s deputy head for ideological work; deputy chair of the commission is the manager of the plant’s Palace of Culture, where the polling station is located, and the secretary of the commission is a journalist of the plant’s newspaper “Trudovaya Smena”, the existence of which is completely in the hands of the company managers. In the same district in all cases when polling stations are located in schools (24 out of 38 polling stations), school principals are chairmen of the precinct commissions. Teachers make up an overwhelming majority in all “school” commissions (9 people out of 15 commission members in commission # 5 (secondary school # 10); 10 out of 12 member sin commission # 6 (Polatsak gymnasia # 1); 8 out of 14 members in commission # 18 (secondary school # 5)).  

-- violations in the organization of the election process

Monitors submitted regular reports about violations made by representatives of executive committees during organization of the election process. For example, Maladechna rayon executive committee failed to organize reception of applications for nomination to precinct election commissions. Voters could not find a person who was responsible for reception of applications, the appropriate register was missing.


1. In numerous cases the process of forming the precinct election commissions remained non-transparent; public representatives were not allowed to be present at the sessions of the bodies that form the commissions.

2. When considering the nomination applications, in fact the executive committees approved the prepared lists without analyzing and discussing the candidacies of nominees..  

3. lack of the legislatively described criteria for including members in the commissions, together with the procedures of their formation allows for manipulations on the part of the bodies that create the commissions.  

4. In fact, the interests of the opposition forces were not taken into account when precinct election commissions were formed. That does not create additional guarantees of their independence from the bodies that have created them.