Minsk: candidates not registered because of tangled division of territory between electoral constituencies

2008 2008-09-08T20:06:33+0300 1970-01-01T03:00:00+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

Violations of the electoral legislation by the pretenders during collection of signatures in Minsk are a result of a tangled determination of the territories of the electoral constituencies, which had been performed by the Central electoral commission. This conclusion was reached by Halina Siamdzianava, who on 3-4 September was present as a member with the right of advisory vote at the sittings of the Central electoral commission at which the complaints of the people who had been denied registration as candidates were considered.

At first it was difficult for her to understand why in the majority of cases the signature lists of the unregistered candidates contained signatures of dwellers of different districts of Minsk or were verified by the administrations of the districts on the territory of which they were not collected. However, it became clearer after consideration of the complaint of S.Kazlouski, who intended to run at Vasniatsouskaya electoral constituency #93.

Mr. Kazlouski was denied registration because the constituency electoral commission found invalid 100% of the signatures out of the ones which were chosen for check-up. The reason is that these signatures were collected on the territory of Leninski district of Minsk and verified by the administration of Zavadski district. But why are 100% of the checked signatures invalid?

Vasniatsouskaya electoral constituency is on the territory of two districts of the capital: most of its territory is situated in Zavadski district and a small part – in Leninski district. That’s why there appeared a question: who was to verify the signatures that were collected by members of Kazlouski’s initiative group in Serabranka suburb (Leninski district). In his complaint Mr. Kazlouski wrote that the members of his initiative group received the following explanation from reprsentatives of Leninski district executive committee: the signatures collected on the territory of Vasniatsouskaya electoral constituency #93 were to be verified in the place where the appropriate electoral commission was situated – at Zavadski district executive committee. The deputy heads of Zavadski DEC agreed to verify the signatures which were collected on the territory of Serabranka suburb. Thus, Mr. Kazlouski and members of his initiative group received from the state officials the information which contradicted to the provisions of the Electoral Code.

‘In order to get 100% invalid signatures, the constituency electoral commission needed to choose for checking only the signature lists with the signatures of the persons who lived on the territory of Serabranka suburb. Only some 7-10% from the total number of signatures was collected there. That’s why in the case of an objective check-up there could not be 100% of invalid signatures,’ explains Halina Siamdzianava.

This scheme seems to have been used many times for weeding out the ‘undesirable’ candidates, but the commission of Vasniatsouskaya constituency was not cautious enough and declared 100% of the collected signatures invalid. In Minsk there are three electoral constituencies that are situated on the territories of adjacent administrative districts: Vasniatsouskaya electoral constituency #93 (the main part is in Zavadski district and a small part in Leninski district), Kalvaryiskaya electoral constituency #104 (the main part is in Frunzenski and a small part in Tsentralny district) and Eastern electoral constituency #107 (the main part is in Savetski district and a small part in Pershamaiski district). These are the constituencies at which the majority of undesirable candidates were ‘weeded out’, including candidates from the United democratic forces, candidates from the European coalition and independent candidates.

In addition, there was another way to find invalid the signature lists at these electoral constituencies. The matter is that in some places there are no distinct borders between the districts and the houses which stood near one another could be situated on the territories of different districts. The people who were not experienced enough in collecting signatures looked only at the addresses in the people’s passports, but not at the names of the respective districts. As a result signatures of dwellers of different districts could be put in the same signature list, which is a violation of the electoral laws.

But who is to blame for it? Formally it looks as it is the fault of the people who collected signatures. Of course, they can be accused of not knowing the provisions of the Electoral Code. At the same time, the officers of district executive committees, who must know the laws well enough, lied to those, who did not know it, and directed them for verifying the signatures to administration of other districts. Or may be they don’t know the laws either, who knows.

‘We don’t know whether the administrations of adjacent district acted on a plot. At the CEC sitting some of the unregistered candidates testified that the officials phoned to somebody and then directed the people to verify the signatures at the administration of another district. As long as we don’t know who they phoned to, we can only say that representatives of the executive committees of Leninski, Tsentralny and Pershamaiski district of Minsk were negligent in fulfilling their duties, because they gave wrong information to collectors of signatures,’ points Halina Siamdzianava. ‘But all this started because of the wrong division of the territories of the electoral constituencies by the Central electoral commission. It seems that everything was made to baffle those who collected signatures.’

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