Report on Monitoring Election Results: July 23rd -29th

2012 2012-07-30T17:43:33+0300 1970-01-01T03:00:00+0300 en http://spring96.org/files/images/sources/zasvabodnyjavybarylogo-en.png The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
Human Rights Defenders for Free Elections

Human Rights Defenders for Free Elections

General Conclusions

-          July 25th was the final day of registration of the initiative groups for signature collection in support of the candidates’ nomination. 85 initiative groups (in support of 15 potential candidates) were rejected registration.  The number of registration denials this time is almost 4 times higher than during the previous parliamentary election. The overwhelming majority of the initiative groups in support of the oppositional candidates were registered.

-          The process of nomination and registration of election observers is under way.  220 domestic and 14 international (CIS election observation mission) observers have already been registered. The majority of the domestic observers were nominated by the pro-governmental associations.

-          The Central Election Commission explained the order of campaigning for boycotting the election: it is legal to campaign for the boycott, however, according to the Law “About Mass Events” permission is needed for setting up street pickets. In the past the above-mentioned Law was used in a way that practically made it impossible for citizens to implement their right to campaign for boycotting the election.  

-          Observers register facts of participation of the bodies of executive power in the work of the district election commissions, as well as other cases when the administrative resources are used for the benefit of pro-governmental candidates. Signature collection in support of nomination and campaigning for loyal candidates takes place at state enterprises and institutions.

 

Registration of Initiative Groups

Registration of initiative groups ended on July 25th. According to CEC, altogether 440 applications were filed to district election commissions, and 352 groups (in support of 330 candidates) were registered. Among them, 66 initiative groups will collect signatures in support of political party members. Among the political parties in opposition the figures are the following: “Fair World” – 26 initiative groups, BPF Party – 18, UCP – 4, BSDP (H) – 9, Belarusian Party of the Greens – 1. There are also some groups representing the non-oppositional parties: Communist Party of Belarus – 5 groups, Republican Party of Labor and Justice – 1, Belarusian Agrarian Party – 1, and Liberal Democratic Party – 1.

Some potential candidates registered several initiative groups in different election districts. 85 initiative groups were denied registration which is almost 4 times higher than the number of denials during the previous parliamentary election. However, it should be taken into account that those 85 unregistered groups were nominating only 15 potential candidates. Initiative groups in support of Mikola Statkevich and Ales Mikhalevich tried to register in several election districts. This way, the number of individuals, whose initiative groups had been denied registration, did not grow in comparison with the previous parliamentary election. The tactics of registering several initiative groups in support of one individual is a new phenomenon in the election process in Belarus.

 

Election Year

Applications filed

Denied registration

Registered

% Denials

2004

635

71

564

11%

2008

447

23

424

5%

2012

440

85

354

19%

 

On July 26th CEC head Lidia Yarmoshyna explained why initiative groups in support of Mikola Statkevich and Ales Mikhalevich were denied registration. According to Yarmoshyna, Statkevich, serving a prison term at the moment, did not ask the prison administration to send any applications to district election commissions. The head of CEC explained that, according to the law, Mikola Statkevich did not have the electoral rights as he had been convicted of a criminal offence. Yarmoshyna also said that Ales Mikhalevich had been put on the international wanted list, while his application for registration included an expired proxy notice.

 

Some Picket Bans Cancelled

When representatives of the opposition forces in Brest addressed the local authorities, they cancelled the ban on some pickets for signature collection on the central streets and squares of the city. However, the pedestrian Savetskaya Street has been left on the list of places, where signature collection is prohibited.

 

Usage of Administrative Resources

Observers register facts of participation of the bodies of executive power in the work of the district election commissions, as well as other cases when the administrative resources are used for the benefit of pro-governmental candidates. Signature collection in support of nomination and campaigning for loyal candidates takes place at state enterprises and institutions.

Administrations of “Slutsk Sugar Refinery” and Slutsk central hospital told their employees not to put their signatures in support of alternative candidates. At the same time, they encourage campaigning for incumbent representative of Slutsk election district # 74, the first secretary of Slutsk city BRSM committee Inesa Kliashchuk. Administration of Ivatsevichy Water Services Company collects signatures in support of the incumbent representative of Ivatsevichy election district #11, the company’s CEO Leanid Kavalevich. The employees of Baranavichy Machine-Building Plant “Atlant” nominated Volha Palityka, who heads the plant’s Belaya Rus unit. Signature collection and campaigning in her support is done during the working hours. Her initiative group consists of 130 people, and is headed by the plant’s HR manager.   

In Minsk, Mahiliou, Babruisk and other cities observers register facts when members of initiative groups of alternative candidates are not allowed to enter student and worker dormitories. Some district election commissions work in a closed mode, refusing to provide information to observers, including information about working places of their members.

The state-owned regional media have increased the number of propagandistic materials, covering the activity of the MPs who run for the next term. Zarya, the state-owned newspaper of Brest region, publishes propagandistic articles about the incumbent MP at Pinsk city election district # 14. Vecherniy Brest newspaper publishes portraits of the four pro-governmental candidates on its front page, etc.

 

Meeting of the Central Election Commission

CEC considered the complaints about registration denials for the initiative groups. The initiative group of Siarhei Rabtsau, a civic activist from Polatsk, was registered. The complaint of Ivan Amelchanka, whose stunt during an opposition march earlier this year was watched by hundreds of thousands on the Internet, was not satisfied.

 

Legitimacy of Boycott Campaigning

 

Reacting to the inquiry of BCD organizing committee, CEC head Lidia Yarmoshyna explained the procedure of campaigning for boycotting the election. Only candidates and their proxies are allowed to campaign for boycotting the election. According to the Law “About Mass Events” activists should receive permission for organizing pickets. The way Minsk city executive committee applied this law in the past shows that it is practically impossible for citizens to realize their right to campaign for the boycott.

The Human Rights Defenders for Free Electionsthink that boycott supporters are discriminated, as, basing on the principle of equality for all entities in the election process, they should have equal possibilities of campaigning for boycott.  

Nomination and Registration of Observers

Nomination and registration of election observers is under way. During the monitoring period the district commissions registered 220 national observers. Pro-governmental non-commercial associations are the most active in that sphere. Belaya Rus nominated 34 observers, BRSM – 24 observers, and Belarusian Union of Women – 12 observers. The political parties nominated only 5 observers (2 from BSDP (H) and 3 from the Communist Party of Belarus). 14 international observers from the CIS mission received credentials.

 

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