Central Election Commission rebukes lawbreakers, but without any legal consequences
believes that making school teachers and kindergarten educators collect
signatures for nomination of presidential candidate Aliaksandr Lukashenka
during working hours is completely legal, even if they are not members of his
campaign team. This conclusion can be drawn from the response of the Chairperson
of the Central Commission Lidziya Yarmoshyna to the complaint of the human
rights defender Valiantsin Stefanovich concerning the discovery of ‘the
schedule of participation in the picket near the Serabranka market at 14 October 2010’ by journalists of the
European Radio for Belarus.
Bear in mind that the document was signed by the head of the ideological and educational department of the education bureau of the Leninski District Executive Committee of Minsk. A.N. Naskova and calls the heads of educational institutions to ‘provide the participation of ‘young and active workers’ in the picket near the Minsk market Serabranka. The schedule contained the surnames of members of the campaign team for the nomination of Aliaksandr Lukashenka a presidential candidate and the list of the educational establishments with the numbers of workers they needed to direct for participation in the electoral picket. There are also concrete dates and time periods opposite all schools and kindergartens.
The human rights defender considered it as unacceptable use of administrative resources in favor of nomination of Aliaksandr Lukashenka as a presidential candidate, especially in light of the fact that his campaign team is headed by the Education Minister Aliaksandr Radzkou. Mr. Stefanovich referred to the fact that Anzhela Naskova had confirmed the existence of this document in her answers to the radio journalist Andrei Yeliseyeu and said that it had been composed on the initiative of the electoral headquarters of Aliaksandr Lukashenka.
The CEC response was quite predictable. Well, Mrs. Yermoshina couldn’t but disagree with the human rights defender and refuse that the campaign team of A.Lukashenka has violated the electoral legislation (part 8 of Article 61 and part 3 of Article 73), which, in its turn, is a ground to deny registration to the candidate according to part 5 of Article 49 of the Electoral Code. On the other hand, she couldn’t ignore the public disclosure of the violations of the law and therefore addressed the head of the Leninski District Executive Committee with the request that he considered the question of issuing a disciplinary punishment to her.
Here is the complete answer of the Central Election Commission to the human rights defender:
’We inform You that members of the commissions conducted a check-up concerning Your application against the actions of A.N. Naskova, the head of the ideological and educational department of the education bureau of the Leninski District of Minsk. In our opinion, the actions of A.V. Naskova that were mentioned in Your application witness the abuse of the duty powers by her. In this regard, the Central Commission applied to the head of Leninski District Executive Committee of Minsk with the request to consider giving A.N. Naskova a disciplinary penalty.
We can not agree with your conclusion that A.N Naskova violated part 8 of Article 61 of the Electoral Code of the Republic of Belarus. This regulation prohibits the participation of administration in the organization of collection of signatures, as well as coercion in the process of collecting signatures and paying the voters for putting signatures. None of these violations are visible in the actions of A.N. Naskova, which composed a schedule of participation of employees of several secondary schools and preschools of the Leninski district in a picket for collection of electors’ signatures in support of the nomination of A.H. Lukashenka for President of the Republic of Belarus. Firstly, A.N. Naskova doesn’t direct the institutions that are mentioned in the schedule and, and secondly, the time sheet for representatives of the campaign team who carried out the picket to collect signatures contains only surnames of members of the campaign team. In addition, no evidence of coercion or awarding in the process of collecting signatures is drawn in your address.
In view of the above the Central Committee has no reason to take any measures of reaction.’
Human Rights Defenders for Free Elections