News for 17 Feb 2010

17.02.2010 State media during election campaign: expert opinion

Assessing the role of mass media in covering the election campaigns, Lidziya Yarmoshyna, Chairperson of the Central Election Commission, stated that ‘state mass media have the right to criticize opposition candidates during elections’, but ‘forgot’ to add that pro-governmental candidates also can be subject to similar critique with the aim of creating equal conditions for all candidates.

17.02.2010 Hrodna: psychological pressurization of democratic candidates

Mass-scale pressurization of the democratic activists who participate in the local elections is observed in Hrodna oblast. As stated by Aleh Ramashkevich, member of the Belarusian Social Democratic Party Hramada, the authorities tried to persuade the member of his initiative group Yauhen Siankevich to leave the group. Chairperson of the territorial election commission Siarhei Chykun, Deputy Chairperson of the Berastavitsa district executive committee, came to the village of Alekshytsy, where pensioner Siankevich lived and proposed that the latter should leave the commission. Yauhen Siankevich refused to do it.

Ivan Kruk appeals against non-registration of his initiative group

17.02.2010 Ivan Kruk appeals against non-registration of his initiative group

The Astravets district territorial commission on elections to the Astravets district Soviet of Deputies refused to register Ivan Kruk’s initiative group established for collection of signatures in support of his candidacy at the Shkolnaya election constituency #2.

Working place of journalist Maryna Koktysh searched by police

17.02.2010 Working place of journalist Maryna Koktysh searched by police

At about 12.30 a.m. on 17 February the Belarusian Association of Journalists learned about the search in the editorial office of the Narodnaya Volia newspaper, at the working place of deputy editor Maryna Koktysh.

17.02.2010 Vitsebsk: Kastrychnitski district court to deliver judgment on Aleh Surhan’s case on 19 February

Hearing of Aleh Surhan’s criminal case ended in the Kastrychnitski district court of Vitsebsk. Surhan was detained on suspicion of hanging out a white-red-white flag.

Members of Union of Poles are detained again

17.02.2010 Members of Union of Poles are detained again

The continuation of the trial on confiscation of the Polish House in the town of Ivianets was scheduled for 2.30 p.m. on 17 February in the Valozhyn district court. The trial is initiated by the authorities and is aimed at passing the Polish House to the pro-regime Union of Poles, governed by businessman Stanislau Siamashka.

17.02.2010 Barysau: tax inspection is getting more active during elections

On 15 February Siarhei Salash, leader of the Barysau organization of the Belarusian Popular Front Party, filed with the appropriate election commission an application for nomination of economist Zmitser Babitski, expert of CASE-Belarus, a candidate to deputies of the Barysau district Soviet of Deputies of the 26th Convocation at election constituency #15.

17.02.2010 ’Human Rights Defenders for Free Elections’ created a page in FaceBook

Human Rights Defenders for Free Elections started a page in the largest social net on the web – Facebook. They intend to upload there links to all materials of their campaign that are published on the Internet.

17.02.2010 Vitsebsk oblast: number of women in election commissions considerably exceeds the number of men

The territorial commissions in the Vitsebsk oblast consist predominantly of women. In particular, there are three women (23%) in the Vitsebsk oblast election commission, 29 women (56%) – in the commissions in the towns and cities of oblast subordination, 21 (70%) – in the towns of district subordination, 177 (66%) – in the district commissions, 81 (81%) – in the settlement commissions and 1 237 (81%) – in the village commissions. A clear tendency can be observed: the smaller a settlement – the larger the number of women in the commissions.

Lidziya Yarmoshyna: more than 3.5 thousands of initiative groups have applied for registration with election commissions

17.02.2010 Lidziya Yarmoshyna: more than 3.5 thousands of initiative groups have applied for registration with election commissions

According to the information voiced at the republican seminar dedicated to the role of media in ensuring the constitutional rights of citizens during election campaigns on 16 February by Lidziya Yarmoshyna, Chairperson of the Central Commission on holding elections and national referenda, more than 3 500 initiative groups have applied for registration with election commissions in Belarus.

17.02.2010 Horki: military procuracy pays interest to democratic activists

On 12 February 2010, military prosecutor A.Budzko paid a visit to the apartment of Piatro Malanachkin, activist of the Belarusian Christian Democracy Party. The prosecutor informed Malanachkin about an anonymous letter to the procuracy in which it stated that Piatro or his wife had given a bribe to the Horki draft board to save their son from being drafted into the army.

Minsk: police disperse action of solidarity with Polish minority

17.02.2010 Minsk: police disperse action of solidarity with Polish minority

On 16 February the riot police dispersed the action of solidarity on Kastrychnitskaya Square in central Minsk. Some of the action participants were detained preventively on the way to the square. Riot policemen also prevented journalists from making photos. As soon as they saw a camera, they ringed the journalist. In some cases, they even tried hitting on cameras.

Orsha officials continue violating election legislation

17.02.2010 Orsha officials continue violating election legislation

On 6 February 2010, the Vitsebsk oblast executive committee and the Presidium of the Vitsebsk Soviet of Deputies issued a ruling on formation of constituency election commissions. Eight of thee established commissions are situated in the town of Orsha. Still, the local state press (the Arshanskaya Hazeta newspaper) has published information about only two of them, though 11 days have already passed since the formation, and Article 34 of the Election Code requires that the decisions of state organs on formation of commissions be published within seven-days’ term.

17.02.2010 Horki: administration of district election commission and constituency election commissions works in district executive committee

In Horki, the administrations of the constituency commissions on elections to the Mahiliou oblast Soviet of Deputies and the district election commission on elections to the Horki district Soviet of Deputies consists of the persons whose stable place of work is the Horki district executive committee, and Ina Kurtsina, secretary of this commission, is Deputy Chairperson of the education department of the Horki DEC .

17.02.2010 Human Rights Defenders for Free Elections: first stage of the formation of territorial and district election commissions. Report

According to article 34 of The Electoral Code of the Republic of Belarus, territorial election commissions on the election of deputies of local Soviets are formed by the presidiums of oblast, Minsk city Soviet of deputies and oblast, Minsk city executive committees, composed of 9-13 commission-members. The mentioned commissions are formed no later than 85 days before the elections.

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