Democratic candidates are weeded out

2008 2008-09-02T19:59:40+0300 1970-01-01T03:00:00+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

The number of unregistered democratic candidates at the parliamentary election is extremely high, so one can’t say the oncoming election is democratic.

Ales Bialiatski, vice president of the International Federation for Human Rights, Aleh Hulak, head of the Belarusian Helsinki Committee, and Harry Pahaniaila, a famous human rights activist and BHC member, said it at a press conference in Minsk today.

As Ales Bialiatski said, 84 out of 365 those who applied for registration as an MP candidate failed to pass the registration. It is 25% from the total number of applicants. ‘This rate is very high. None of the neighboring countries – Ukraine, Poland and Lithuania – have such a mass ‘screening-out’. There are only 2.5 candidates per district, which is ridiculously little. Now non-alternative election will be held in 12 districts. Taking into account that the BPF party is going to withdraw its candidates till 23 September, and Homel democrats have already withdrawn from the ‘election’, the number of non-alternative districts will undoubtedly grow,’ Ales Bialiatski said.

Taking into consideration that 22 persons from the list of opposition parties and 28 persons from the European List didn’t pass the registration, 50 people, or 33.5 per cent, of the total number of the democratic candidates (149 people) failed to be registered.

‘Iit is an unusually high per cent. The authorities shouldn’t praise themselves for the conditions today are more loyal than in 2004. In 2004, 44% of democratic candidates weren’t registered, if there was a decrease, it was insignificant. But at this ‘election’ every third didn’t pass the registration! The situation is aggravated by a decision of the democrats to withdraw from the election due to non-democratic election process. The authorities who organized such ‘election’ are guilty of it. Judging by a rate of unregistered democratic candidates, this electoral process can’t be democratic,’ the vice president of the International Federation for Human Rights said.

The head of the Belarusian Helsinki Committee Aleh Hulak noted that documents for registration as an MP candidate were considered behind the closed doors. BHC observers weren’t allowed to attend sessions of district commission, though they were registered there.

‘The procedure of registration wasn’t transparent. Observers weren’t allowed to check of documents for registration. The candidates say they were withdrawn unlawfully, but we can’t estimate this. We have doubts if it was held lawfully. If it was done in accordance to the laws, why weren’t observers allowed? We have appealed against non-registration to the Central Election Commission and the Supreme Court,’ Aleh Hulak said.

The human rights activist also noticed the ‘hard atmosphere’ of the election campaign. ‘The candidates and members of their teams continue to be intimidated by administrative and law enforcement bodies,’ Aleh Hulak noted.