Socio-political situation in Belarus ahead of presidential election
The socio-political situation in Belarus ahead of presidential election remains extremely complicated. The authorities failed to provide the Belarusian citizens with an appropriate amount of civil rights and freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution.
The existing legislative authorities are deprived of any independence. The Council of the Republic and the House of Representatives, lacking sufficient powers, with shortage of actual internal political competition, are not separated, nor independent from the executive power. The courts are also dependent on the executive branch and are not fulfilling the role of impartial arbiter during any litigation. Often, the court is a repressive instrument of suppression of free thought and activities of the Belarusian citizens.
The electoral legislation abounds in imperfections, and the reform of the early 2010 failed to significantly improve the situation. The existing rules and procedures for elections still allow the authorities to arbitrarily manipulate the electoral process and election results.
The authorities continue to harass civil and political activists: they are continuously prosecuted under civil and criminal procedures, dismissed from work and studies, they are subject to other forms of pressure. The country maintains a high level of fear in the society, which is consistently supported by the Belarusian authorities. In 2010, Belarusian human rights organizations registered a few hundred cases of such harassment. One of the potential candidates for the presidency, Belarusian writer Uladzimir Niakliayeu faces criminal charges.
The incredibly harsh conditions of existence and activity for Belarusian independent media, the artificial barriers created by the executive for their registration, unequal economic conditions for the state and private media, a complete absence of independent electronic media in the country create a situation of impossibility of free distribution of information and unequal conditions for campaigning for future presidential candidates.
The existing legislation does not provide a sufficient degree of rights of Belarusian citizens to peaceful assembly and protest.
Ahead of the election campaign, the authorities have intensified pressure on the existing non-profit organization. The government agencies conduct massive inspections of their activity, resulting in an increasing number of liquidations, which creates conditions for the criminal prosecution of activists. The free activities and development of political parties are also severely restricted. In recent years, all attempts to register new political formations were dismissed by the executive authorities.
In connection with the above, it is impossible to speak of a favorable social and political climate ahead of the major electoral campaign. In this situation, independent, objective, unbiased observation of elections by the Belarusian human rights activists, aiming to assess the electoral process, its compliance with the Belarusian legislation and international standards, can serve an example of the impartial performance of civic duty to the people of Belarus, political actors and government agencies responsible for the lasting political crisis, experienced by the country.
Minsk, September 16, 2010