Svetlahorsk: Chairman of district commission hinders speeches
In Sasnovy Bor town of Svetlahorsk district voters had an opportunity to attend a meeting with candidates to the Chamber of Representatives. During the meeting chairman of Svetlahorsk district election commission Siarhei Merkulau interrupted the speech of Sviatlana Mikhalchanka agent of the pro-democratic candidate Siarhei Daineka, two times.
Sasnovy Bor is the third biggest town of Svetlahorsk rayon. The meeting, which gathered about 100 people, took place on September 17th, in the local Palace of Culture. Both candidates who run in Svetlahorsk district had a chance to speak: engineer of the local “Autoservice” Siarhei Daineka and incumbent MP former deputy chair of Svetlahorsk rayon executive committee Valiantsina Kavaliova. Their agents also delivered the speeches. The speech of Daineka’s agent S. Mikhalchanka was really not to the liking of S. Merkulau, the executive committee’s deputy chairman for ideology, although the Election Code does not give him the right of censorship.
Speaking about V. Kavaliova, her agent Ihar Kuzmianok pointed out, she used to be Young Pioneer leader and organized trips to “places of labor glory” (we are talking about the 1980ies).In her own speech, when she talked about the results of her work as an MP for the last four years, Kavaliova mentioned the lamp shades which appeared in Sasnovy Bor secondary school. Two people form the school came to the meeting: its principal Andrei Marau and a teacher who is a member of precinct election commission. The voters recommended Kavaliova to visit the local hospital to get to know the life conditions in the town better.
A group of specially selected veterans is brought to meetings with voters; most of them used to be local officials before retirement. During the meetings these people ask the pro-democratic candidate “compromising”, often awkward, questions. For example, they accused 30-year-old Daineka of “breaking the Soviet Union” in 1991.
Human Rights Defenders for Free Elections