Central Election Commission and Parliament leave little hope to international observers
The international observers see no significant improvements in the conditions for election campaigning in Belarus even after the amendment of the electoral legislation. The experts show that the corrupt practice of non-admission of observers to counting of votes will be still used during the local elections ‘2010.
Bear in mind, on 30 November the Chamber of Representatives adopted in the first reading the amendments to the electoral legislation of Belarus. The head of the Central Election Commission Lidziya Yarmoshyna stated that these amendments were made with 90% consideration of the OSCE recommendations.
However, the organizers of the international project Election Monitoring: Theory and Practice stated to Belarusian News that they had no illusions that the amendments that were adopted by the Chamber of Representatives would establish a new level of democracy and transparency at the elections. The project is a fruit of cooperation between the United Center of Belarusian Initiatives, Belarusian Humanities University, Human Rights House in Vilnius and Swedish International Liberal Center.
‘Of course, we welcome any steps aimed at liberalization of the Belarusian electoral legislation, which does not meet the spirit of the time,’ said the project head Thomas Taliminas. ‘The fact that the amendments give parties and NGOs wider opportunities for nomination of observers is a step in the right direction.’
Nevertheless, the experts are still concerned with the excessively wide powers of heads of election commissions concerning the isolation of observers from counting of the votes and consider it as one of the main obstacles to effective election monitoring.
The CEC head also stated that the amendment on visibility of the counting of votes to observers was not included.
‘The powers of observers remain the same: observers have the right to watch the counting of votes. The formulation about the visibility of the vote counting is excluded as subjective,’ said Yarmoshyna.
‘Any law is a result of a compromise. There’s the opinion of those who organize the elections. For instance, head of precinct commissions feel less protected than observers. They demanded the norms that would give more powers to members and head of precinct commissions and protect their rights. That’s why a compromising variant was chosen,’ she added.
As a result, the only thing left to observers is to watch the backs of members of the election commission during the polling.