Salihorsk: establishment of PECs lacks transparency

2014 2014-02-05T17:37:31+0300 2014-02-05T17:37:31+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

Leanid Markhotka, long-term observer of the Belarusian Helsinki Committee, states that the electoral process in the Salihorsk district lacks transparency. This is the conclusion he came to after attending the meeting of the Salihorsk District Executive Committee on formation of precinct election commissions, which was held in the morning on February 4 and lasted just 20 minutes.

The meeting was opened by the chairman of the executive committee Aliaksandr Rymasheuski. Soon his deputy for ideological work Mikalai Maskevich presented a report.

“In fact, there was no formation of the commissions. Mr. Maskevich showed the present people a large folder which allegedly contained the minutes of meetings of the labor collectives, public organizations and citizens' signatures for the nomination of their representatives to the precinct election commissions. He did not read out who was nominated and to which precinct commissions, saying that all participants of the meeting had already seen these documents. Meanwhile, other people didn't have such folders,” says Mr. Markhotka.

Chairman of the Executive Committee Aliaksandr Rymasheuski described all nominees as people experienced and well-versed in this work during the past election campaigns. As a result, 67 precinct election commissions were established in 40 constituencies by unanimous vote. 679 people were included in them. By a strange coincidence, there were 11 nominees to each of the 32 precinct election commissions of Salihorsk.

A quick analysis of the personnel of the PECs allows local human rights activists to that the opposition groups and independent nominees were totally ignored by the election commission. There are only three partisans in the established PECs. All of them are members of the pro-government Republican Party of Labor and Justice . It is interesting that during the discussion of technical issues Aliaksandr Rymasheuski referred to the members of PECs as new people and suggested the need for special training for their education, though a few minutes earlier he called them experienced and skilled people.

However, the whole weirdness of the situation revealed when Leanid Markhotka asked to be familiarized with the minutes of the meetings of the labor collectives, as stipulated by the principle of openness and transparency of the electoral process. At that very instant ideologist Maskvich grabbed the folder and repeated several times: “Never!”

“I assumed that there could be nothing but blank sheets of paper in the folder, as other members of the meeting did not have copies of the documents. Mr. Maskevich opened the folder and started waving it at a distance of several meters, until this farce was stopped by Rymasheuski,” said Mr. Markhotka. “However, the chairman of the executive committee didn't let me have a look at these documents either, saying that I could steal something. I stated my willingness to study the documents at any convenient time in presence of the policeman from the guard of the executive committee or any other officer of the executive committee. They responded that the policeman was busy keeping his duty and there were no free workers in the executive committee due to the 30% staff reduction."

According to Mr. Markhotka, the authorities fear publicity on this issue due to the fact that all PECs were formed without holding real meetings of labor collectives.

The long-term observer believes that the implementation of this important phase of the campaign takes place in opaque conditions and in the absence of transparency, and calls the process of formation of election commissions direct calls secret.

"Human Rights Defenders for Free Elections"