Salihorsk District Election Commission tried to hold a closed sitting and threatened election observer
January 8 long-term observer of the Belarusian Helsinki Committee Leanid Markhotka visited the sitting of Salihorsk District Election Commission, at which the electoral teams to collect signatures for nomination of candidates were registered.
Within 7 minutes quorum of nine members of the electoral commission registered two electoral teams – the team of an independent nominee Andrei Trafimchyk running in constituency No. 27 and the team of the head of the youth of FC "Shakhtar" Andrei Bas, constituency No. 23. After this the commission chairperson Liudmila Tsybulionak announced the closing of the sitting. However, all commissioners remained sitting, that's why Mr. Markhotka decided to stay as well:
“Mrs. Tsybulionak wanted me to leave supposedly closed sitting of the electoral commission, and her deputy, Anatol Makhlai, explained that some closed issue would be considered. However, after my appeal to the openness and transparency of the electoral process, I was allowed to stay.”
However, no “closed issues” were considered. Leanid Markhotka believes that his presence prevented the commission members from discussing some inconvenient topics.
“In general , the committee members were terse. It was clear that they tried to "filter" their statements. Even the remark of commission member Anatol Niadvedzki about an extremely small amount of volunteers to run at the election was met with formidable looks of the leadership of the election commission,” says the observer.
At the end of the sitting Mr. Markhotka left his business card to the two self-nominated candidates registered. Chair of the Electoral Commission Tsybulionak noticed it and said that in such a way the observer hindered the sitting and threatened to deprive him of accreditation. However, when Mr. Markhotka asked whether it meant that the earlier information about the end of the sitting and the transition to the solution of technical issues was not true, the chairperson of the electoral commission lost the desire to deprive him of accreditation.
All in all, the sitting on registration of electoral team and discussion of technical issues took just 18 minutes.
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