Baranavichy: observer not permitted to observe verification of signature sheets
On 30 October observer Siarhei Housha visited the Baranavichy
City Territorial Election Commission and asked the duty committee member Leanid
Chukho, whether the commission sitting for distribution of the signature sheets
among the commission members had taken place. Leanid Aslanavich Chukho (Soviet
Army colonel, retired, nominated to the commission by the Belarusian Union of
Officers, a member of the campaign team of Aliaksandr Lukashenka) told him that
it hadn’t taken place and recommended not to hurry, because the signature
sheets were stored in a vault, and observers would be surely invited to the sitting.
Siarhei Housha reminded the commission member that he had submitted to the
commission a request for being informed about the time and place of the
verification of signature sheets, to which Mr. Chukho replied that the
committee would consider the application.
However, to a great surprise of Siarhei Housha on 1 November in the morning the commission Chairperson Tatsiana Latyshava stated that the sitting had already taken place on 29 October and the signatures sheets were being verified, and Mr. Housha wasn’t informed about it because she was on vacation (!?). When Siarhei Housha asked to be admitted to verification of signatures in accordance with his application, she answered that such a right wasn’t provided by the law.
Siarhei Housha believes that there was the sitting for distribution of signature sheets among the commission members wasn’t held at all, everything was done by the administration of the election commission in the absence of of observers. It is still unknown whether the commission abided by the legal procedure and chose 20% of signatures sheets for verification, or verified all signatures in support of the opposition candidates. Now Mr. Housha is preparing complaints with the assistance of a lawyer.
Human Rights Defenders for Free Elections