Salihorsk: human rights defenders obtained a copy of ‘Plan of organizational ideological provision of the election of President of the Republic of Belarus on 19 December 2010 on the territory of the Salihorsk district’
The document was signed on 23 September by the Chairperson of the Salihorsk District Executive Committee A Rymasheuski, the head of the organizational and personnel department V.Kokhan and the Deputy Chairperson on ideology, T.Subotsina.
The analyst of the civil campaign Human Rights Defenders for Free Elections Valiantsin Stefanovich comments on the most interesting moments of the document.
In particular, the list of organizational activities includes ‘A counsel with the chairpersons and secretaries of election commissions’. ‘The common practice is that counsels and educational seminars for lower election commissions are conducted by the election commissions of higher levels, not by executive authorities. District executive committees have nothing to do with it: according to the law they just form the election commissions that must act independently since the moment of their establishment,’ comments Mr. Stefanovich.
According to the document, the ideological department of the Salihorsk District Executive Committee is charged with holding ’a training counsel with deputy chairpersons on ideology of enterprises, organizations and farms on issues of the ideological provision of the preparation and holding of the election of President of the Republic of Belarus’. It is again unclear, what relation can the ideological departments have to elections?
’The electoral legislation determines the organs that are responsible for holding elections, and the administrations of enterprises and organizations clearly don’t belong here,’ reminds Mr. Stefanovich. ‘In other words, this paragraph shows that the organization of elections is actually conducted by executive committees, administrations of state enterprises and institutions, which I consider unacceptable.’
According to the document, organized will be also ’a cycle of educational measures with the youth who take part in the elections for the first time’, and the Belarusian Republican Youth Union (BRSM) should ‘facilitate the informational and explanatory work with working and studying youth’.
Human rights defenders point at the well-known fact that BRSM is responsible for the ideological support of the present authorities. ‘One can only guess what kind of informational and explanatory work they will conduct with youth. This may simply turn into another opportunity to agitate for the nomination of one of the candidates and support him after the registration,’ warns the analyst. ‘It is obvious that the proxies and electoral teams of other candidates are deprived of such opportunity - I mean the access to educational institutions, organizations, etc.’
However, the primary attention of Human Rights Defenders for Free Elections is focused on the paragraph Organization of work of observers from working collectives, political parties and public associations at election commissions. Human rights activists believe that the observation of elections is the task of the subjects who take part in elections, not the one that should be implemented or ‘organized by executive authorities, whereas from this document it follows that the district ideologists are put in charge of such work.
’Naturally, we are talking about pro-government structures. It is not a novelty that the authorities actively put to the polling stations observers from such pro-government structures,’ emphasizes Valiantsin Stefanovich. ‘One of the aims of such activity is to neutralize the information that is distributed from independent observers and observers belonging to opposition parties, which makes it easier to legitimize the results of the elections.’
The human rights defenders believe that such documents are adopted by executive committees throughout Belarus during all elections, not only presidential ones.
Human Rights Defenders for Free Elections