Opposition representatives state they can boycott ‘elections’
The democratic forces may stop participating in the election to local deputy Soviets. This statement was made by leaders of the United Civil Party on 2 February. According to them, the first stage of the campaign, formation of district commissions, was held in traditional style, when the opposition is being thrown out of the campaign.
According to Belorusskii Partizan, the UCP leaders say they do not see any liberalization of the electoral process: opposition representatives compose only 0.5% in election commissions. Only 15 out of 58 candidates were included into election commissions.
Commissions were formed at sittings that were held in secrecy, so that public and sometimes even candidates didn’t know the date of a sitting. The authorities failed democratization at the first stage of the electoral campaign.
The UCP presidium came to these conclusions at the sitting. Anatol Liaukovich, Chairperson of the Belarusian Social Democratic Party Hramada noted 89% of opposition candidates were not included in election commissions.
Valer Ukhnaliou, Deputy Chairman of the Belarusian Party of United Leftists Fair World, emphasized that only 9 out of 31 candidates of the party had been included in commissions.
Amendments to the Electoral Code haven’t brought any changes: the authorities continue to manipulate elections as before. Election commissions were formed as the local authorities wanted. Formally, one third of commissions are representatives of political parties and NGOs (BRSM, Federation of Belarusian Trade Unions, Belaya Rus). In fact, this doesn’t change anything; everyone knows what views Belaya Rus and BRSM have. Deputy Chairperson of the city executive committee, Chirperson of the managing department, and Chairperson of the legal department were included in the Homel city election commission by means of collecting signatures, which contradicts the Electoral Code. Composition of commissions is the same as it was 10 and 15 years ago,’ Valer Ukhnalou says.
‘Election commissions remain the same. The people we have been seeing on and off for the last 15 years, constitute the backbone of commissions. We reserve the right to quit electoral campaign after all stages of election commission formation are completed. The authorities have to decide how they will sell local councils elections to the West ahead of the presidential elections,’ added Anatol Liabedzka, leader of the United Civil Party.