Lidziya Yarmoshyna: ‘Election laws don’t provide observers with the right to control the establishment of commissions’
On 4 March Siarhei Housha, observer of the Belarusian Language Society at the Baranavichy district election commission, received an answer from the Central Election Commission to his application of 24 February 2010.
In his application Mr. Housha asked the CEC to explain how it was possible to check whether members of election commissions were state officials (according to the law their number is limited by 1/3rd of the total number of members of a commission), if the places of their work weren’t published in the state press?
In its answer the CEC stated that the Election Code (Article 34, part 7) doesn’t oblige the state agencies to publish information about the place of work of members of election commissions and their forming is supervised by the prosecutorial workers who attend the sittings of the executive committees and Soviets of Deputies that form the election commissions.
Uladzimir Labkovich, lawyer of the Human Rights Center Viasna, commented on the situation: ‘In fact, the election legislation of the Republic of Belarus, doesn’t contain any provisions concerning the public announcement of information about the places of work of the members of election commissions and the way of their nomination with specification of the working collectives, parties and other organizations by which they were nominated. However, it just shows that our legislation is still quite far from the international standards. Pitifully enough, the observers’ rights weren’t extended as a result of the latest amendments and the civil society is still deprived of the opportunity to conduct a full-scale monitoring of all stages of the electoral process. However, in a democratic society such role of observers is an obligatory condition for transparency and democracy of elections.’
Human Rights Defenders for Free Elections