Parliamentary Elections: Report on Election Campaigning

2016 2016-09-11T17:30:12+0300 2016-09-11T17:32:13+0300 en http://spring96.org/files/images/sources/logo_elections.png The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

Observation is carried out by activists of the Belarusian Helsinki Committee and the Human Rights Center “Viasna” in the framework of the campaign Human Rights Defenders For Free Elections

CONCLUSIONS

- the campaign was held within the time limits set by the Electoral Schedule (from the date of the registration of candidates on September 10, inclusive); the campaign was largely low key, failing to attract much public attention;

- in most regions, the conditions for campaigning were improved as compared to the elections of 2012 and 2015; some regions preserved the negative practices of earlier campaigns;

- 525 candidates were registered, of which 40 withdrew; the election authorities cancelled the decision to register one of the candidates;

- only 322 candidates created their election funds, representing 67% of the registered applicants (484);

- 43% of the observers reported that the local authorities provided the candidates and their agents with unauthorized premises for meetings with voters; 55% of the observers said that all the candidates in their districts were on an equal footing to meet with voters in these areas; in 13% of the electoral districts, local authorities did not allow individual candidates to meet with voters in the premises or conduct mass events;

- the candidates were not provided with equal rights; pro-government candidates enjoyed better conditions for campaigning: they made extensive use of the administrative resources, including electronic and print media; there were cases of pro-government candidates’ meetings with voters during working hours, reporting inaccurate or false information about the schedule of meetings on the websites of local governments;

- all the candidates had the opportunity to appear on TV and had their election platforms printed in the state-owned media, but some refused to do so; 416 candidates presented their televised speeches (80% of the total number of registered candidates and 85% of the number of candidates who continued to run for Parliament); 380 candidates spoke on the radio (72% of total number of registered candidates and 77% of those who continued to run for Parliament); 227 candidates appeared in televised debates (43% of total number of registered candidates and 46% of those who continued to run for Parliament);

- there were instances of censorship of candidates’ speeches and platforms, as well as obstacles in the publication of campaign materials (unauthorized editing etc.), although the current legislation does not provide for approving electoral texts by printing companies and does not impose such duties on the candidates themselves; there were facts of discrediting the opposition and independent candidates.

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