Vitsebsk region has few places for election campaigning

2014 2014-02-08T13:32:56+0300 2014-02-08T13:32:56+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

The official websites of executive committees and regional newspapers published the decisions of local authorities, who determined theplaces for outdoors meetings with voters. The number of such places differs in each district, and quite often such places are quite far from the town centers.

Haradok City Executive Committee decided that just one place for electoral meetings, kindergarten in Chyrvonaarmeiskaya Street, would suffice. The only place for electoral meetings in Chashniki is in Svaboda Square, in Navalukoml – in front of the Culture Palace.

In Dubrouna, there are two such places, both of which are located on the outskirts. The voters are invited to come either to a courtyard between two apartment buildings, or to the territory near Dubrouna district consumer society.

"I'm going to run for the regional council in Dubrouna, but don't even imagine where this place is! I don't think that even all locals know it. It is quite strange: are there no busier and more popular places for electoral meetings? For instance, the central square, or the grounds in front of the executive committee or department stores,” says Aliaksei Haurutsikau, Vitsebsk activist of the organizing committee of the Belarusian Social Democratic Party “Narodnaya Hramada”.

Hlybokaye activist of the civil campaign "Tell the Truth" Yaraslau Bernikovich commented on the appropriate decision of the local executive committee:

"The newspaper "Vesnik Hlybocchyny" informs about three places for meetings with voters in Hlybokaye. And all three are located on the outskirts of the city, where people almost don't walk, but drive by. This is Maladziozhnaya Street, Maskouskaya Street and a park at the intersection of Chyrvonaarmeiskaya and Internatsyianalnaya Streets. So, candidates for the regional council are proposed to meet with their electors quite far from the city center. In my navite village, where I am going to run for a district council, I am proposed to meet with the electorate near the Culture House, which was closed down several years ago. Of course, villagers don't come to this lonely place. Can we call it “creation of conditions for campaigning”, if the electors will have to look for the candidates almost with a compass?"

The situation is quite similar in most district centers: three places for electoral meetings have been determined in each of them. An exception to this rule is the regulation of the Sianno authorities, who determined six places for meetings in Sianno and two more – in Bahusheusk.

Braslau District Executive Committee determined four places for electoral meetings. However, these places are quite unsuitable. One of them is the sports ground near school No. 1. However, it would be hard to hold an electoral meeting during some sports competitions or lessons in physical training. Another place is the parking lot near school No. 2. However, parking lots are meant for parking cars, not for electoral meetings, and holding such meetings in such places can be inconvenient for drivers.

Beshankovichy and Dokshytsy distirct executive committees did not determine specific locations for electoral meetings. They just ruled that such meetings can be held on the territories in front of the buildings where the polling stations are situated, in front of shopping centers and on the grounds near multi-stored buildings (though there are almost no such buildings even in Dokshytsy and Beshankovichy).

"Human Rights Defenders for Free Elections"