Central Election Commission: car rally for Lukashenka was unlawful, but no one is guilty
The Human rights defender Valiantsin Stefanovich
received a response to his complaint, in which he asked the Central Election
Commission to bring to justice members of the rally We Are for Father! (i.e. for Lukashenka). As previously reported, the
rally started in St Petersburg
and was organized by the Russian public associations Slavic Brothers and Autoradioclub.
Citizens of the Russian Federation traveled to 24 towns in Belarus. Participants in the rally moved in columns decorated with flags and slogans calling to support the incumbent in the upcoming presidential elections in Belarus.
Valiantsin Stefanovich informed the CEC that foreign nationals also conduct electoral meetings in Belarusian cities and towns. Photos of one of the organizers of the rally, a citizen of the Russian Federation, the head of the Russian NGO Slavic Brothers and a deputy of the Parliament of the Russian Federation Sergey Kharlatyev and an interview with him were placed on the website myslonim.com . As follows from the interview, the purpose of the rally was to support the policy of Lukashenka,’ – wrote Mr. Stefanovich in the complaint. He stressed that Article 45, part 4 of the Electoral Code directly prohibits foreign nationals to take part in canvassing.
On 6 December V.Stefanovich received a reply signed by the Chairperson Central Election Commission Lidziya Yarmoshyna and dated 1 December. ‘Your address, in which you report about the holding of the rally We Are for Father was considered within the guidelines of the competence of the Central Election Commission. As far as your address was received by the Central Commission after the end of the specified event, it was impossible to take any measures to stop the agitation activities of foreign nationals,’ runs the answer. At the same time, the CEC ‘drew the attention of the subordinate commissions’ to the fact that the participation of foreign citizens and stateless persons in election campaigning is prohibited.
Nevertheless, the CEC pointed out that neither presidential candidate Aliaksandr Lukashenka, nor his team was guilty of violating Article 45, part 4 of the Electoral Code. ‘We consider it necessary to inform that during the review of your application it was found that none of the proxies of the candidate for President of the Republic of Belarus Aliaksandr Lukashenka had taken part in the organization of the rally,’ - concludes the CEC.
Said Valentin Stefanovich, a response to his complaint he was not pleased.
’Of course, it is good that the CEC acknowledges the illegality of this action and draws the attention of lower commissions to it. But where are the local authorities, where are these lower commission? They ought to know the election laws and act without waiting till someone writes a letter to remind them about it,’ says the human rights defender. ‘Moreover, in his appeal to the CEC he referred to concrete sources of information – myslonim.com and the website of the state-owned newspaper Belorusskaya Niva belniva.by. It remains unclear why the executive committees or prosecutors paid no reaction to publications in the local media and even in the national press. ‘Of course, it’s too late to punish offenders once they are gone’, says Valiantsin Stefanovich. ‘However, it’s worth reminding that administrative responsibility is provided for such violations on the territory of our country and it must be borne by citizens of the Russian Federation equally with the citizens of Belarus.’
Human Rights Defenders for Free Elections