Election week: events and generalizations
The main intrigue of the week is a question: will or won’t opposition candidates participate in elections? The integrated approach is not developed, though some of the candidates have withdrawn their candidacies. The BNF party compromised with candidates for promotion and gave them an opportunity to make decisions independently.
The quantity of uncontested districts for this week has accrued up to 14, that make up 15 % from total.
The "Champion" in this question - Grodno region: in 6 of the 13 districts elections will be uncontested. The elections in the parliament’s upper chamber – Council of the Republic – will pass absolutely uncontested.
Considerable quantities of citizens are not included in the lists of voters.
Observation mission of ODIHR OSCE expresses concern about the formation of these lists.
Human rights defenders have found out, how power structures "have prepared" for the selective company. On a week of the public the official document on the Brest region have been presented. Certain categories of citizens, first of all youth, "will be neutralized". What does it mean — everybody knows by the experience of the previous election campaigns.
Is it necessary to speak about exclusive importance of a stage of candidate’s propaganda, on which an acquaintance of voters with the future people's choices, acquaintance with their program occurs?!.
Is it necessary to speak about how it is important to realize the rights provided by the selective legislation: to carry out meetings with voters, to place printing propaganda materials?!.
Meanwhile, it is necessary to ascertain with regret that proimperious candidates are provided not only with the minimum guarantees of propaganda, but also moreover.
At the same time, independent candidates are compelled to face barriers: exert candidates and heads of the organizations and the enterprises, who are compelled to refuse in granting premises for carrying out meetings, to forbid to hang out propaganda materials or to remove them... And to the supporters of boycott which, by the way, is resolved by the selective legislation, are already prepared places in insulators.
On Hamlet’s question everyone will answer by himself
Within a week UDF and separate opposition parties did not manage to develop the uniform approach to a question of participation or nonparticipation in elections. At the same time, on September, 19 five members of the Incorporated civil party refused further participation in the selective company — Stanislav Bogdankevich, Alexander Dobrovolsky, Valentine Polevikova, Ekaterina Molosaeva and Anna Egorov.
The reason of such decision was razing the publication of their propaganda materials by the authorities.
Leader of UCPB Anatoly Lebedko who is laid down in the same conditions, has not descended from a selective distance: he declared his district to be the "range for the proof of falsifications".
The same day promoted workers from BNF in Minsk have declared removal of their two nominees: Alexey Janukevich and Valentine Svjatskaja. On September, 17 was accepted a decision on the removal of the nominee by the member of the same party Stanislav Sudnik from Lida.
They have motivated the refusal of the further participation in elections by the decision of the BNF party’s Soim, which has provided removal of all candidates of the party by the first day of preschedule voting (by September, 23).
However, candidates have hastened: on September, 20 party’s Soim reformulated the previous decision on removal of nominees. Now candidates can solve: to participate or not, to be or not to be.
Uncontested elections will take place in 14 districts
After withdrawing Stanislav Sudnik’s candidacy the quantity of uncontested districts in Grodno area has increased: now there are 6 of 13. It is an original "record" — on other areas picture is not so brutal.
The quantity of uncontested districts in the country is 14, what makes 15 % from total. It is a unique event for the Newest history of Belarus.
Let's remind: last week the candidate of Vilejka election district № 64 Victor Anikeenko withdrew. As a result only one candidate remained in the district - the candidate from power Spilnichenko Igor - the head physician Vileika TMA.
100 % uncontested elections in Council of the Republic
On September, 18 at the session of the Central electoral commission 55 candidates in members of Council of the Republic of National meeting of Belarus were registered. It was planned to register 56 persons, but archpriest Feodor Popovnyj has refused to be put forward from Minsk: the reason for this decision was that the policy in a life of the priest should take secondary place and he was going to continue spiritual activity.
Council of the Republic consists of 64 persons: eight from each region and Minsk, eight more are appointed by the president. Thus, elections in Council of the Republic will pass on an uncontested basis. Elections of members of Council of the Republic will take place from September, 21 till October, 10, at the sessions of deputies of local Councils of deputies of base level in each region and deputies of Minsk council of deputies.
The authorities are very anxious about the elections have taken place. Members of the local commissions come to the decision of a problem of appearance simply: strike surnames off the list voters. Logic clear: thus it is possible to overestimate percent of the voters which have voted. Member of the local selective commission in Svetlogorsk has informed: "On each polling district there are people who usually do not go on elections. The members of the local commissions who work not for the first time, know about them. The chairman of the commission has told that it is not necessary to include them".
Observation mission of ODIHR OSCE also expresses concern about the formation of these lists. International observers have underlined: "In Belarus lists of voters are composed on each polling district. Thus, there is no any centralized or summary list. Absence of the centralized data of the account of voters at national or district level means that there is an actual impossibility of cross checking repeated names". This problem disturbs mission because exists the possibility of the reusable voting of the same citizens.
Security, defence and law enforcement agencies "were prepared" for elections
"The decision on maintenance of the protection of the law, order and road safety in preparation and carrying out elections in deputies of the House of Representatives of National meeting of Byelorussia of the fourth convocation in territory of Brest region", confirmed by the chief of the Department of Internal Affairs in Brest to colonels of militia of V.L.Krasnichenko and co-ordinated with chief of KGB department on Brest region to colonels L.N.Dedkov and the public prosecutor of Brest region, the senior adviser of justice S.K.Hmarukom.
From this document, dated on August, 7 2008, it became known about creation in territory of Brest region of the Situationally-operative staff (SOF) the Department of Internal Affairs "with a view of coordination of actions of forces and the means involved on protection of the law and order in carrying out of elective campaign of 2008". Representatives of various structural divisions of the regional Department of Internal Affairs have entered into this staff.
According to the given document, the problem is set to the different structural divisions and their heads:
preventive measures under the prevention of possible provocative actions, neutralizations of the citizens bearing plans to break, disorganize preparation and elections or to carry out actions on destabilization of conditions in preparation and elections, including from informal youth groupings;
work with rectify, having focused it on revealing of the persons inclined to fulfillment of illegal actions in preparation and elections, including carrying out of not authorized actions;
timely informing SOF of the Department of Internal Affairs about movement of destructively adjusted citizens by rail;
working meetings with chairmen of courts concerning reduction of quantity of application to the persons who have made offences, collectings in the form of administrative arrests for the period of elections;
in a duty to divisions of traffic police of GAI tracing on routes of patrol of the facts of sticking of leaflets, transportations of the printing editions made with infringement of the established legislation, posting of flags of unstated symbolics and non-admission of inscriptions on facades of buildings and constructions, carrying out of not authorized actions;
to organize the control over carrying out:
preventive conversations with postmen of post offices, heads of village councils about inadmissibility of carrying out from their party of illegal propaganda and distribution of printing editions of the antistate maintenance, timely informing of law enforcement bodies at revealing of the citizens engaged in antistate propaganda and calling to strike of elections;
to organize interaction
with Department of KGB on Brest region and territorial departments for preparation and elections - concerning the control over moving and stay of foreign citizens, the operative control over leaders of destructive forces, the persons planning acts of terrorism;
timely tracing and representation by fax in SOF of the Department of Internal Affairs of the negative information published in mass media, concerning preparation and elections.
Human rights defenders have all bases to believe, that similar staffs are created in all regions of the country.
Unequal conditions for candidates
While for proimperious candidates "all doors" are opened, the district selective commissions advise independent candidates to " come independently to the agreement with the heads of the enterprises and establishments for carrying out of meetings with working collectives". Naturally, heads of the enterprises do not wish to "be substituted” and to help with the organization of such meetings and that’s why refuse flatly.
So, administration ICLL "Corona" has given up to the candidate of Grodno northern district № 51 Yaroslav Romanchuk in possibility to hold a meeting with voters on Grodno covered market "Crown". Heads of the local meat-packing plant have acted similarly.
There is no possibility for Victor Podchinenkov the candidate on the Grodno rural district №52 to meet voters. Despite the preliminary arrangement, the meeting organization in Skidelsky lyceum has been suddenly given up.
Some meetings with voters of candidate Nikolay Chernous have been broken with the "help" of a management of a city polyclinic which has cancelled "five-minute meeting" where the independent candidate should act.
"We didn’t managed to gather people", - told to the candidate from the medical institution.
The meeting didn’t take place with the voters of the branch of Berezovsky meat-packing plant: people were not informed about the meeting. The same happened at the factory of automatic transfer lines. "Nobody has come", - Chernous was informed by the heads of BFAL.
In settlement Uvarovichi of Buda-Koshelevsky area (election district N 38) candidate’s Konstantin Zhukovskogo meeting with voters took place. come about 25 inhabitants of Uvarovichi (settlement with almost 5-thousand population) came to the meeting.
The majority have gone to the parental meeting appointed by the administration of the school for the same time, as the meeting with the candidate. It is obvious, that the coincidence of date and time of the meeting with the candidate and the general parental meeting is not an accident.
The Polesie district selective commission №43 in Mozir has not made any plan of meetings at all. The secretary of the district selective commission №43 Valentina Avramenko has answered inquiry to the candidate Gavrilenko: "Come to an agreement with the heads of the enterprises and establishments about carrying out of meetings with working collectives". Streets are his sheet-anchor in meeting people.
There is no place for the posters of some candidates
Many problems have arisen with placing of printing propaganda materials. So, the place for propaganda materials still is not defined in Mozir. The chairman of the district commission Pashinsky says that a reason for place absence is lack of money for street stand’s establishment.
Candidate of Vitebsk-railway election district №19 Andrey Levinov is not allowed to place propaganda posters at all. Heads of the state bodies and the organizations either refuse in placing posters, or resolve, informing the next day, that under instructions of regional administrations are compelled to remove them. 109 of 112 references have received refusals, in 3 cases candidates were allowed to hang out the poster, then one of the positive decisions has been cancelled.
A grave situation is emerging in Borisov. The administration of some colleges, received propaganda posters of the candidate on Borisov city election district №62 Victors Gorbachevs, but did not hang them out, or has hung out them for one day, and then has removed. Such facts are fixed, particularly, in a gymnasium №1, secondary schools №№ 15 and 20 in which voting areas are located.
At the same time, it is allowed to provide with the programs of proimperious candidates... each “entrance”. Employees of the Polotsk housing and communal service are ordered to stick at entrances of houses and on bulletin boards propaganda materials of the candidate from the power of Polotsk city election district №28 Peter Juzhik.
They should be engaged in this “honorable and in addition no-charge business” in working hours irrespective of own political views and opinions. They must watch closely the propaganda posters continue to hang all pre-election period, if someone damage - to substitute for new.
Indicative example of Vitebsk-Chkalovsk election district №18 where the head physician of regional hospital Victor Ovchinnikov is put forward from the power. All ground floor of the hospital stiked with pre-election posters with candidate’s image on them. Hospital medical staff immediately tears down posters of other applicants for the deputy mandate on this district. In Grodno, places where candidates can stick poster production are defined. But for some reason, posters of oppositional candidates began to be stuck with other posters which do not have any relation to elections. So, posters of the candidate of Grodno-Zanemanski district № 49 are stuck near the placard with the invitation to the concert of Uhtinsky.
PR: one man - white, another - black
On polling election districts there are no ideological doubts as " whom to vote?". Election boards of №15, №16 and №17 Vitebsk-Gorki districts №17 are hanged with posters of the candidate from power Gennady Gritskevich - the chairman of the Vitebsk City Council. Certainly, it is besides the general posters of the candidates standing on given election district.
The executive’s committee newspaper "Bobruisk life" continues black PR of independent candidates. After publications with "pick to pieces" Alexander Chigir behind the signature Palindrom there was one more material. The text in a heading "Elections-2008" under the name "On an equal place will create potholes" tells about the candidate of Bobruisk-Lenin district № 78 V.Semashko, the farmer and the member of the United Civic party.
Candidate Elena Medvedeva standing on Bobruisk-Lenin district № 78, also became a victim of the newspaper authors. Under the pretext of the good purpose ("to tell the truth about the candidate"), Simeon Petrovsky the author of the article "Not for imitation" has told voters about family disorders of the candidate. A material recollected private life not only of Elena Medvedeva, but also her daughters, granddaughters, with instructions of all names and surnames. In general Simeon Petrovsky "has walked" on a family of the candidate as a skilled gossip. And at last reminded readers about her"political activity", her "participation in not authorized actions" and penalties.
Preventions rain down on candidates
The district commissions undertake attempts if not to remove independent candidates, then to complicate their life. On different, sometimes completely not logical occasions to candidates from Minsk, Mogilev, Bobruisk and other cities preventions have been taken out already.
So, two preventions were received by the candidate of the Minsk Masukovshchinski election district №103 Denis Sadovsky - for an appeal on a meeting with Alexander Milinkevich and for newspaper distribution "Narodnaya Wolya".
The district commission of Mogilev-Lenin election district №84 has taken out the prevention to candidate Igor Kovalenko. Inexact autobiographical data of the candidate became an occasion to such decision. “I had to write, that I’ve finished courses at the Mogilev polytechnic technical college in 1997, but I didn’t write exactly this way. I didn’t write about courses", - speaks Kovalenko.
The prevention to the candidate of the Mogilev-central district to №85 Sergey Gvai was taken out - for the leaflet maintenance in which the commission has seen slander on deputies. The second independent candidate of the same district Alexander Silkov has received the prevention for hanging out a propaganda material in the place that was , supposedly,not intended for it.
Two preventions were taken out to the democratic candidates of Bobruisk-Lenin election district № 78 - to Feodor Voronich and Vladimir Semashko.
For an electoral programme direction at once in some editions (besides, that the program only one newspaper as a result has printed), to the second - for... Own opinion expressed by the candidate during television performance.
For the direction of electoral programme simultaneously in several editions (as a result, only one newspaper has printed the programme), and for … the opinion, which was expressed by the candidate during the television speech.
"Human rights defenders for free elections"