Election officials block opposition candidates in Vitsebsk
A number of members of opposition parties and pro-democratic NGOs were not registered as candidates for the Vitsebsk City Council, including the most famous persons of the region, human rights defender Pavel Levinau, coordinator of the organizing committee of the Belarusian Christian Democracy Tatsiana Seviarynets, coordinator of the movement “For Freedom” in Vitsebsk region Khrystafor Zhaliapau, coordinator of the campaign “Tell the Truth” in the Vitsebsk region Lidziya Sahidulina and others.
Among those who were denied the opportunity to run are representatives of the United Civil Party, Belarusian Popular Front etc.
Registration results show that in 18 of the 40 constituencies of Vitsebsk elections will be uncontested, as there will be only one candidate to elect, says human rights defender Pavel Levinau.
“In general, elections to the Vitsebsk City Council can be now cancelled! I have already sent such a proposal to the CEC with a request to answer me on the merits. Why spend public money, when in 18 districts result is known in advance, and in 22 districts it is quite predictable? Separately, I want to draw attention to the registered candidates: 4 of them are heads of housing departments, several chief physicians of Vitsebsk health care institutions, more than a dozen managers of state-owned enterprises, high-ranking officials. There isn’t a single ordinary man! All of them occupy government posts, and therefore a question arises: what about their professional duties? It is not at all flawless, for example, head of the Pershamaiski district housing department has not yet finished the improvement of urban territories, and has a prosecutor’s warning for that. But now he wants to go to the City Council as a defender of the people’s interests! Once they were called “people’s deputies”, but then the word “people’s” was removed, and this is true, because these people do nothing for the benefit of the people!” says the human rights defender.
Almost half of those who have been registered as candidates for the Vitsebsk City Council are acting deputies, says Pavel Levinau. As for him personally, the defender was not registered because among 75 signatures provided for his nomination there was one invalid.
“I submitted exactly 75 signatures as required by law. All of them are valid, and moreover, everyone who signed up for me filled a special statement in case there was a check, that they put their signatures in their own hand. I also took these statements to the commission. However, I was told that there was one woman who testified that she did not write the date,” says Pavel Levinau.
Claims related to signatures are the most common reason for denying registration to representatives of democratic forces. In particular, each of the nine activists of the campaign “Tell the truth” who wanted to run for the Vitsebsk City Council found exactly one signature being labeled as invalid. This is a necessary "minimum" for non-registration. Coordinator of the movement “For Freedom” in Vitsebsk region Khrystafor Zhaliapau says five out of 100 signatures collected for his nomination were declared invalid: four signatures during the first check, and one during the second. Exactly the same situation is reported by Tatsiana Seviarynets, Vitsebsk coordinator of the BCD’s organizing committee.
"Human Rights Defenders for Free Elections"