Salihorsk: Formation of territorial election commission still a secret

2013 2013-12-27T11:06:38+0300 2013-12-27T11:06:38+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

BHC Salihorsk activist Leanid Markhotka managed to attend a meeting for the formation of the district election commission, however, the principle of its formation and the names of the elected members of the commission remained a mystery to the public.

According to Leanid Markhotka, a formal application requesting permission to attend the meeting was submitted to the Salihorsk authorities on December 20, but he managed to get permission only after a personal visit to the executive committee in the morning of December 26.

The meeting was opened by chairman of the executive committee Aliaksandr Rymasheuski. He cited a figure of 15 representatives allegedly nominated to the election commission by political parties, public associations, labor collectives and by collecting signatures. However, he did not mention any names and organizations.

Chair of the Council of Deputies, Lidziya Klishevich, said that a shortlist had been already formed featuring 13 representatives who first filed their nomination papers. The list was voted for unanimously. In general, the meeting took no more than 12 minutes including New Year's greetings from Aliaksandr Rymasheuski. In fact, it was not a meeting for the formation of Salihorsk district election commission, but a meeting to vote for already formed commission. It is also curious that Salihorsk District Prosecutor Aleh Audzei who was present at the meeting as an observer was not in a place designated for observers, but among executive officials who were engaged in the organization of the meeting.

Immediately after the meeting, the BHC representative asked, in accordance with the Electoral Code’s principles of openness and transparency, to see and make photocopies of the minutes for the nomination of representatives to the commission.

“At the suggestion of Lidziya Klishevich, the district executive committee chairman said that all the available information would be published in the newspaper. I had to join the discussion. Finding no legitimate reasons to justify this secrecy there and then Mr. Rymasheuski ordered his subordinates to show me the minutes,” says the human rights activist.

The chairman’s order was carried out by the head of the personnel department, head of the legal department and the chief ideologist.

“Unfortunately, the way the idea of ​​openness and transparency of the electoral process is perceived by our officials is very peculiar. Ms. Chyhir showed me the minutes, but she did it as if holding a “fan” at a distance of 1.5 meters and shaking her hands. Visually, it seemed that she was holding 5 or 6 sheets. Lawyer Strapko started to wonder where the opportunity for observers was spelled out in the legislation. I kindly send him to a law firm for consultation. It got to the point of absurdity, as they began to accuse me of putting pressure on the possible supporters of elected representatives,” says Mr. Markhotka.

The inability to see the minutes of nomination representatives to the commission and their names questions the actual existence of all the papers at the time of the meeting. For the same reason the BCH representative was unable to obtain information about the amount of representatives nominated by the political opposition or independent public associations. Local democratic activists have not reported such information to the BHC’s local office. Following the visit, the representative of the BHC stated that in reality the formation of Salihorsk district election commission was not open, nor transparent, but had a secret character.

“Human Rights Defenders for Free Elections”