No con­firm­a­tion of offi­cial elec­tion res­ult pos­sible by inde­pend­ent elec­tion mon­it­or­ing.

Final Declar­a­tion of the Cam­paign “Human Rights Defend­ers for Free Elec­tions” in Belarus
Slight improve­ment of gen­er­al con­di­tions ascer­tained

On Sunday, 28th Septem­ber 2008, the par­lia­ment­ary elec­tions took place in Belarus. The ini­ti­at­ive “Human Rights Defend­ers for Free Elec­tions” in which 300 Belarus­i­an elec­tion obser­va­tion experts, law­yers and journ­al­ists took part has observed the elec­tion cam­paign in all regions of Belarus from June 10th, 2008 to Septem­ber 28th, 2008 in all its stages and has repor­ted about it in detail reg­u­larly.

This struc­ture was formed by the non-gov­ern­ment­al organ­iz­a­tion European Exchange gGmbH loc­ated in Ber­lin in cooper­a­tion with the Belarus­i­an Hel­sinki Com­mit­tee and the Human Rights Cen­ter “Viasna”.

The ini­ti­at­ive “Human Rights Defend­ers for Free Elec­tion” was able to pur­sue its activ­ity in gen­er­al, how­ever, was con­fron­ted with hindrance espe­cially at the begin­ning of the elec­tion obser­va­tion by admin­is­trat­ive meas­ures like tax inquiry and intim­id­a­tion.

In view of the rigid gen­er­al con­di­tions for can­did­ates of the polit­ic­al oppos­i­tion to par­ti­cip­ate in the elec­tion the inde­pend­ent loc­al elec­tion obser­va­tion had to focus on dis­cov­er­ing:

1. To what extent the can­did­ates of the oppos­i­tion and inde­pend­ent can­did­ates were con­sidered at the form­a­tion of the cent­ral and loc­al elec­tion com­mis­sions.

2. Wheth­er and in which ways the groups of sup­port­ers were hindered dur­ing the col­lec­tion of sig­na­tures for their can­did­ates.

3. Wheth­er and in which ways the regis­tra­tion of can­did­ates of the oppos­i­tion and inde­pend­ant can­did­ates for the 110 elec­tion dis­tricts was obstruc­ted and influ­enced.

4. Wheth­er the can­did­ates of the oppos­i­tion and inde­pend­ent can­did­ates were able to con­duct their elec­tion cam­paign under fair con­di­tions.

5. Which kind of defi­ciency of trans­par­ency could be ascer­tained at the vote count­ing by the elec­tion com­mis­sions in the polling places.

6. Wheth­er and in which ways elec­tron­ic and print-media oper­ated par­tial in favor of the regime loy­al can­did­ates, and how the can­did­ates of the oppos­i­tion were com­men­ted in the state media.

7. Wheth­er and in which ways this elec­tion cam­paign differed from the pre­vi­ous cam­paigns.

The ini­ti­at­ive of the loc­al impar­tial elec­tion observ­ers “Human Rights Defend­ers for Free Elec­tions” has ascer­tained massive viol­a­tions of the Belarus­i­an elect­or­al law and inter­na­tion­al stand­ards dur­ing the mon­it­or­ing of the par­lia­ment­ary elec­tions such as:

1. The exer­cising of polit­ic­al pres­sure on the neut­ral domest­ic elec­tion observ­ers, detailed tax exam­in­a­tions of human rights organ­iz­a­tions imme­di­ately after the begin­ning of the elec­tion obser­va­tion in June 2008, tax exam­in­a­tions of the elec­tion observ­ers as well as their fam­ily mem­bers, pro­sec­u­tion and sev­er­al arrests of loc­al inde­pend­ent elec­tion observ­ers.

2. The refus­al to grant inform­a­tion to the neut­ral domest­ic elec­tion observ­ers about the form­a­tion of region­al and loc­al elec­tion com­mis­sions and the exam­in­a­tion of the assembly of voter lists.

3. The intim­id­a­tion of the oppos­i­tion­al can­did­ates for the region­al and loc­al elec­tion com­mis­sions and the mem­bers of the supporter’s groups that col­lec­ted sig­na­tures for sign­ing up the oppos­i­tion­al can­did­ates.

4. The pref­er­ence of gov­ern­ment-loy­al can­did­ates in the state elec­tron­ic and print media.

5. The pres­sure on the pop­u­la­tion to par­ti­cip­ate in pre-elec­tion vot­ing.

6. Miss­ing trans­par­ency at the vote count­ing by not admit­ting rep­res­ent­at­ives of the oppos­i­tion into the loc­al elec­tion com­mis­sions and hand­ling the pre-elec­tion vote in an intrans­par­ent way.

Sum­mary

The ini­ti­at­ive “Human Rights Defend­ers for Free Elec­tion” dis­covered some pos­it­ive changes at this elec­tion cam­paign in com­par­is­on to the elec­tion cam­paigns of the last years.

The release of polit­ic­al pris­on­ers in Belarus has led to a gen­er­al improve­ment of the fear­ful cli­mate in the coun­try. The major­ity of the can­did­ates – also the inde­pend­ent ones and the can­did­ates of the oppos­i­tion – were able to pro­duce their cam­paign mater­i­al and dis­trib­ute it to the pop­u­la­tion mostly unhindered. The par­ti­cipants of the demon­stra­tion which has taken place in the even­ing of the Elec­tion Day in Minsk didn’t face any hindrance or phys­ic­al threat in com­par­is­on to the demon­stra­tions of the last years.

On the oth­er hand, ser­i­ous irreg­u­lar­it­ies were ascer­tained at the exe­cu­tion of this elec­tion:

The pro­cess of form­ing the elec­tion com­mis­sions –in par­tic­u­lar the form­a­tion of the loc­al com­mis­sions car­ry­ing out the vote count­ing – was intrans­par­ent. Rep­res­ent­at­ives of the inde­pend­ent or oppos­i­tion­al can­did­ates were prac­tic­ally not rep­res­en­ted in the loc­al elec­tion com­mis­sions. The pres­sure on voters to take part in the pre-elec­tion vote and the insuf­fi­cient admis­sion of observ­ers to the elec­tions has neither cor­res­pon­ded to inter­na­tion­al stand­ards nor to the Belarus­i­an law. These lis­ted irreg­u­lar­it­ies and the massive imped­i­ments of the observ­ers at the vote count­ing do not allow the con­firm­a­tion of the offi­cially stated elec­tion res­ults of the Cent­ral Elec­tion Com­mis­sion.

Categories: Statements