OSCE ODIHR mission to visit Minsk in January
According to head of the Central Electoral Commission Mikalai Lazavik, an OSCE ODIHR mission is planning to visit Belarus in late January following an official invitation by the Belarusian Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued on 23 December 2008. They are to meet with representatives of the Commission on 22 January.
‘We are looking forwards to learning more about the ODIHR representatives and discussing opinions concerning the Belarusian electoral legislation,’ said Mr.Lazavik.
The mission is to continue dialogue for the improvement of the Belarusian electoral legislation and law-enforcement policy.The OSCE’s Final report on the 28 September 2008 parliamentary elections in Belarus states that in spite of some ‘minor improvements’, the ‘elections ultimately fell short of OSCE commitments for democratic elections’. ‘The election environment in Belarus still does not allow genuine political competition, and equal treatment of election competitors by the authorities. The Electoral Code does not provide any clear mechanism for securely keeping the ballot boxes after the start of early voting, nor does it provide specific regulations for enhancing the integrity of the ballot,’ says the report. Besides, most opposition candidates were denied registration for ‘trivial reasons’. ‘All this allows the possibility of electoral malfeasance,’ the report states.