Closeness is the main characteristic of formation of precinct commissions. Information from regions
923 precinct election commissions were established in the Vitsebsk oblast. 11,287 persons were included in them and 698 were not. More than 4,400 of them are representatives of civil associations and political parties. The rest are representatives of working collectives.
7,646 (67.7%) are women and 430 (12%) are people younger than 30.
There Communist Party of Belarus demonstrated the greatest activity among the 15 parties that are registered with the state in the Vitsebsk oblast. 107 of its representatives will work at precinct commissions. There are also 30 representatives of the Republican Party of Labor and Justice, 24 representatives the Belarusian Party of Leftists Fair World, 3 representatives of the United Civil Party, 2 representatives of the Belarusian Agrarian Party and 1 representative of the Belarusian Social Democratic Party Hramada. None of the representatives of the Belarusian Popular Front Party were included in the precinct commissions.
Only several democratic activists were included in precinct commissions in the Polatsk district.
In Navapolatsk, the authorities didn’t include in a precinct commission Volha Damaskina, member of the BPF Party. The local authorities urgently nominated to the commission two persons so that Volha wouldn’t be the only person who wasn’t included. In all other commissions of the town the number of applications corresponds to the number of members – 19 persons in each commission.
In general, oppositional parties showed little activity in the nomination of representatives to the precinct commissions of the Polatsk district, which can be explained by the negative experience of the previous election campaigns when no opposition members had been included in the commissions.
One representative of the Belarusian Christian Democratic Party was included in a precinct commission in the town of Hlybokaye, and one more BCD representative – in a precinct commission in Pastavy.
On 10 March the sitting on the formation of precinct election commissions took place in Pinsk. No representatives of political parties were included in the commissions. The sitting was attended by Ales Ramanovich, Chairperson of the Pinsk town council of the BPF Party. When he asked why BPF representatives weren’t included in the precinct commissions, I.Berastsen, Chairperson of the Pinsk town election commission answered that there were too many nominees from political parties and none of them were included not to offend any of the parties.
On 10 March the sitting of the Baranavichy city executive committee on approval of the compositions of precinct election commissions took place. Ales Savos, Chairperson of the personnel department of the Baranavichy CEC was the reporter at the sitting. The composition of 66 commissions consisting of 685 members was adopted for just five minutes.
Representatives of the press and TV, political parties and civil organizations weren’t invited to the sitting. The surnames of the members of commissions weren’t called. Observer Siarhei Housha, the only representative of the public circles present at the sitting, asked whether the three candidates of BPF and BSDH were included in the commissions and was answered that only one of them, BPF member Ales Hrytsavets, was included. As said by Viktar Dzichkouski, Chairperson of the Baranavichy city executive committee, the information about other members of the commissions can be obtained from the local state press. He also rejected Siarhei Housha’s request for publishing information about the places of work and the official positions of members of the precinct commissions.
Only 19 out of 210 nominees of the United Democratic Forces coalition were included in precinct commissions (100 of them were nominated by the United Democratic Party and 110 – the Belarusian Party of Leftists Fair World). A total of 87 representatives of political parties were included in the precinct commissions. 65 of them represent the pro-governmental Communist Party of Belarus. By the way, 19 representatives of the PCB had been also included in the precinct commissions during the previous elections to local Soviets of Deputies in 2007, whereas members of oppositional political parties hadn’t been included at all.
54 representatives of the For Freedom movement were nominated to the precinct commissions by collecting electors’ signatures, but only 1 of them was included. ‘The Belarusian tendency is non-inclusion of representatives of the opposition in precinct commissions, whereas now about 1/10th of the oppositionists who wish to work in the commissions were included in them. Precinct election commissions count the poll and are responsible for forming the real picture of the elections. In this case the authorities need a total control, because the system can collapse if it gives in somewhere. The aim of the present regime is self-preservation and the control is the shortest and the most reliable way to achieve it,’ commented Piatro Kuzniatsou, coordinator of the For Freedom in the Homel oblast.
Representatives of the Homel city organization of the United Civil Party attended the sittings on the formation of precinct election commission. However, the Chyhunachny and the Savetski district executive committees refused to provide them with information concerning the inclusion of the UCP nominees in the commissions. The officials told the numbers of the nominees of political parties, civil organizations and working collectives who were included in the commissions, but refused to tell the surnames of the UCP members who were included in the commissions. ‘I think that such actions violate Article 65 of the Constitution and Article 13 of the Election Code,’ commented Andrei Tolchyn, Chairperson of the Homel city UCP organization. Mr. Tolchyn lodged with the Homel city executive committee a complaint asking to oblige the district executive committees to present information about the inclusion of members of the party in the precinct commissions. However, he doesn’t believe that it will bring any results. ‘According to the law, we have three days for appealing against the non-inclusion of our members in the commissions. Most likely, these three days will pass before we receive all the necessary information and the time will be lost,’ stated Mr. Tolchyn.
45 UCP members were nominated to the precinct commissions situated in the Savetski district of Homel, but none were included.
The sitting on the formation of precinct commissions took place in Buda-Kashaliou. Only 1 out of 9 nominees of UCP was included – Volha Smolnikava.
On March the Mazyr district executive committee held a sitting on the formation of precinct election commissions. The sitting was held by nine persons. Before the beginning of the sitting Veranika Baikova, Chairperson of the personnel work banned taking photos and recording anything on Dictaphone. She also warned the present representatives of the Belarusian Popular Front Party and the United Civil Party that discussion and asking questions during the sittings weren’t provided by the Election Code.
After this Baikova quickly read the general information about the number of representatives of civil organizations, political parties and working collectives in the precinct commissions. There’s was no discussion about the representation of political parties and civil associations in the precinct commissions. Being asked how the proposals of UCP and BPF on inclusion of members to the precinct commissions were taken into account, Veranika Baikova called only the surnames of two UCP members.
No members of oppositional parties were included in the precinct commissions that are situated in the constituencies where the initiative groups of the BPF member Uladizmir Tseliapun, the UCP member Siarhei Lapusta and the nonpartisan Franak Viachorka are registered. Tseliapun’s initiative groups are registered in the Paleskaya election constituency #43 on elections to the Homel oblast Soviet of Deputies and the Kalektyunaya electin constituency #18 to the Mazyr district Soviet of Deputies, the initiative group of Laputsta – in the Katayeuskaya election constituency on elections to the Mazyr district Soviet and the initiative group of Viachorka – in the Stantsyinaya election constituency #25 on elections t the Mazyr district Soviet.
In Mazyr, only 2 out of 11 nominees of the United Civil Party, Anatol Petukhou and Viktar Shvaba, were included in precinct commissions.
4 out of 19 nominees of democratic parties were included in the precinct election commissions of the Zhlobin district. Officers of the Zhlobin district executive committee refused to tell the surnames of these people at the sitting on the formation of the election commissions. 3 of the nominees belong to the Belarusian Party of Leftists Free World (a total of 15 representatives were nominated by the party in Zhlobin), and 1 – to UCP (which nominated 4 representatives). Thus, about 1/5 of the nominated opposition activists were included in the precinct commissions.
Marat Afanasiieu and Valer Rybchanka, heads of the Zhlobin district organizations of UCP and the Fair World, were invited t the sitting on the formation of the precinct commissions. As stated by V. Rybchanka, at this sitting the executive committee approved without any discussion the compositions of precinct commissions that had been prepared in advance, after which he and Afanasiieu were told that the sitting was over and were asked to leave the premise.
The Rahachou district executive committee held a sitting on the formation of precinct election commissions. 2 out of 15 nominees of the Fair World were included in the commissions.
As said by Liudmila Kabylianets, a local activist of the Fair World, a new member of the party, Liudmila Mironava, was included in precinct commission #10 in Rahachou. Another member of the party, Ivan Kokhan, was included in commission #24 in the Dvarets village Soviet where he has already worked during previous election campaigns.
Thus, only 13.3% of the party’s nominees were included in the commissions, though many of them had experience of participation in election campaigns. Meanwhile, representatives of the Fair World weren’t nominated as candidates in the Rahachou district. Most probably, the elections will be non-alternative at precincts #10 and #24.
None of the 5 representatives of the For Freedom who had been nominated by collecting electors’ signatures were included in the precinct commissions.
1 out of the 2 representatives of the For Freedom was included in a precinct commission.
In Hrodna, the formation of precinct election commissions was conducted without sensations. In particular, the sitting of the Kastrychnitski district executive committee was held by six persons and lasted for 25 minutes. Independent observers and representatives of democratic parties state that the principle of publicity was violated during the formation of the precinct commissions. The information about the composition of the commissions wasn’t announced. A total of 1,071 persons were nominated to the precinct commissions of the Kastrychnitski district (about 17 persons per commission). 51 of them were nominated by political parties: 18 by UCP, 16 – by CPB, 11 – by BPF, 4 – by the Belarusian Social Democratic Hramada and 2 – by the Belarusian Social Democratic Party. Only two of them were included – Piatro Anisimovich from BPF and Ezhy Hryhencha from UCP.
The sitting of the Leninski district executive committee was held in even closer regime. In particular, Raman Yurhel, a representative of the Belarusian Helsinki Committee, wasn’t admitted to it. When Zmitser Slutski, a UCP representative asked whether members of his party had been included in the commissions, he was answered that he could learn about the composition of the commissions from the official publications.
As it became known after the sitting of the Masty district executive committee, there won’t be any representatives of democratic forces in the town of Masty. In particular, as said by Ales Zarembiuk, a representative of the For Freedom movement, none of the 9 nominees of the For Freedom were included in the commissions. Four other representatives of the democratic community, including a member of the BSDH, weren’t included in the commissions either.
Four members of the Belarusian Social Democratic Hramada were included in precinct commissions, as well as the three civil and political activists who had been nominated by collecting electors’ signatures.
None of the 4 UCP nominees were included in the precinct commissions. As said by the UCP activist Mikola Ulasevich, all four were nominated by the Hrodna oblast organization of the party, but two were also nominated by the Astravets organization. However, the Astravets district executive committee ignored all of them.
The sitting of the Slonim district administration on the formation of precinct commissions followed the scenario common for the Hrodna oblast. As said by the representative of the BPF Party Ivan Sheha, the compositions of the precinct commissions weren’t announced. The commissions were formed in the following way: the number of a commission was announced and the number of persons and the address of the commission were voted. The information about the inclusion of any of the 25 democratic nominees will be available only after the publication of the information about the precinct commissions in the state press.
According to preliminary information, no representatives of democratic parties and organizations of Mahiliou were included in the precinct commissions. This information was provided by the human rights defenders Barys Bukhel and Aliaksei Kolchyn who had visited the Kastrychnitski and the Leninski district executive committees to receive information about the composition of the commissions.
Human rights defender Barys Bukhel points that no representatives of the democratic community were included in the precinct commissions. ‘My candidacy was rejected because of absence of the experience of work in precinct commissions,’ says the human rights defender. ‘I was informed about it by chairperson of the personnel department of the Kastrychnitski district executive committee. Yauheniya Tsiurkina, nominee of the Mahiliou Human Rights Center, wasn’t included because of her age (she is 70). The official refused to give any information on any other democratic nominees and just stated that none of them had been included.’
’I was nominated to precinct commission #27 in the Leninski district of Mahiliou by the Mahiliou oblast organization of the civil association Belarusian Popular Front Adradzhenne’, says Aliaksei Kolchyn. ‘Maryna Khadanionak, Chairperson of the personnel department of the Mahliou Leninski district executive committee, told me that I hadn’t been included in the commission. She refused to familiarize me with the appropriate decision of the executive committee referring to the large volume of the document that is being prepared for publication. I was proposed to familiarize with it in the state press.’
Aliaksei points that Maryna Khadanionak agreed with his proposal to put the decision on the website of the Mahiliou city executive committee.
Bear in mind that the Mahiliou democrats nominated 39 persons to the precinct commissions. 21 persons were nominated by the civil association Belarusian Popular Front Adradzhenne, 7 – by the United Civil Party, 6 – by the Civil Forum, 3 – by the Belarusian Party of Leftists Fair World and 2 – by the Mahiliou Human Rights Center.
The Babruisk human rights defenders believe that all candidacies to the local precinct election commissions were considered by the ideological department of the Babruisk town executive committee. The compositions of the precinct commissions were approved at the sittings of the state agencies that are responsible for the formation of the commissions, but none of the persons present had the opportunity to familiarize with the lists of members of the commissions, their applications or minutes of the sittings.
As present it is known that no democratic activists were included in the precinct commissions situated on the territory of the Pershamaiski district of Babruisk. Civil activist Alena Miadzvedzeva said that Mikhail Zholudau, Chairperson of the Pershamaiski district executive committee of Babruisk, stated at the sitting on the formation of the precinct election commissions that 60% of the people who were included in the commissions had worked in them before.
A total of 56 election precincts were established in the Pershamaiski district. The precinct commissions consist of 19 members if more than 2,000 live on the territory of the precinct, and 16 persons – if the number of electors is smaller.
In Minsk oblast, the formation of precinct commissions ended on 10 March. According to information of the Minskaya Prauda newspaper, 11,072 persons were included in the commissions. 4,515 (40.8%) were nominated by collection of electors' signatures, 2,573 (23.8%) were nominated by working collectives and 3,986 (36%) – by political parties and civil associations.
According to the newspaper, the greatest activity was demonstrated by such pro-governmental structures as the Communist Party of Belarus, the Federation of Trade Unions of Belarus, the Belarusian Union of Women and the Republican civil association Belaya Rus.
The yesterday's edition of the Barysau state-owned newspaper, Adzinstva, didn't contain any information about the decision of the Barysau district executive committee on the formation of the local precinct commissions and their compositions dated 10 March.
All attempts of the Barysau human rights defenders to receive this information from officials of the Barysau DEC remain fruitless.
Human Rights Defenders for Free Elections