The “Human Rights Defenders for Free Elections” campaign comes to conclusion that the election process was marked by serious violations of the principles of democratic and fair elections, as described in the OSCE standards and the Belarusian legislation. The election took place in the atmosphere of political persecution and repression of the opponents of the government; this political environment, as well as the limitations at the stages of creation of election commissions and campaigning had a negative effect on the freedom to make an informed choice. Non-transparency of vote count procedure makes it impossible to state that the election results reflect the will of the Belarusian people.
The legal basis for this year’s election campaigning was the amended version of the Electoral Code, which extended campaigning opportunities as compared to the parliamentary elections in 2008; however, the use of the new standards was curtailed by the executive authorities, resulting in a large number of candidates from the opposition parties being unable to transmit their position to the voters.
September 3-9, 2012
General Conclusions - The campaigning is low-profile: candidate debates take place in few districts only, information boards in many districts remain empty; there is no mass distribution of printed campaign materials. - The Central Election Commission ruled to prohibit participation of candidates’ agents in debates in case the agents ran for mandate in other districts. The ruling is contrary to Article 46 of the Election Code, which allows participation of candidates’ agents in debates without any limitations. - TV-presentations of the opposition candidates and their platforms continue to undergo censorship in the state press. Observers register facts of usage of the administrative resource in favor of the pro-governmental candidates. - Election campaigning takes place in the climate of pressure on democratic candidates and civic activists from the state bodies. - The Supreme Court heard the complaints about denial of registration to candidates. One of 17 complaints was satisfied.
Registration of candidates for the parliament is the important stage of the election campaign, as it results in the list of the persons who will take part in the election. The essential task of the observers at this stage is to assess the conditions in which candidate registration was held, and to determine if the registration process was transparent and in compliance with the principles of free and democratic elections.
- The vast majority of the initiative groups in support of the opposition candidates were registered. 85 initiative groups were denied registration, which is percentagewise almost 4 times the number of denials during the parliamentary elections in 2008. - There are registered facts of the authorities creating obstacles for members of the opposition candidates’ initiative groups and using administrative resources for the benefit of those who support the government. - At the signature collection stage members of initiative groups have filed a total of 15 complaints, while during the presidential election of 2010 more than 50 complaints were filed. The complaints are mainly about no access to dormitories of state enterprises and institutions for members of initiative groups.
August 13th, 2012
During the period from the 6th to the 8th of August local administrations, rayon and city executive committees formed 6, 301 precinct election commissions (PEC) which altogether have 68, 945 members. Commission members were selected from the pool of the individuals nominated until August 5 by organizational structures of political parties and non-commercial organizations, working collectives, and by groups of citizens (through signature collection). This stage of the electoral process is important because precinct election commissions are in charge of organizing the voting process at polling stations, including handing out ballot papers to voters and vote count.
General Conclusions - The period of candidates’ nomination continues from July 15th to August 13th. Initiative groups collect signatures during door-to-door and street picket activities. - Some candidates and members of initiative groups experience pressure from the authorities. We have registered cases of state officials hindering the work of pro-democratic initiative groups, as well as usage of administrative resource to the benefit of pr-governmental candidates.
July 25th was the final day of registration of the initiative groups for signature collection in support of the candidates’ nomination. 85 initiative groups (in support of 15 potential candidates) were rejected registration. The number of registration denials this time is almost 4 times higher than during the previous parliamentary election. The overwhelming majority of the initiative groups in support of the oppositional candidates were registered.