Local elections in Belarus: recent reports
In the framework of the campaign "Human Rights Defenders for Free Elections", the Belarusian Helsinki Committee and the Human Rights Center "Viasna" have published a number of reports around the Belarusian local elections, to be held on February 18, 2018.
According to the report on the Territorial Election Commissions (TECs), one of the major obstacles to nominate representatives to the TECs from political parties and public organizations is a rule endorsed by the Central Election Commission which only allows the nomination of candidates by the organizations’ local branches, provided they are registered at the regional, district and city levels. See the full report here.
On of the findings of the report on District Election Commissions (DECs) is that executive officials still demonstrated an obviously discriminatory approach to the opposition parties during the formation of the DECs. The introduction of a requirement to consider the candidates’ professional and personal qualities did not contribute to greater political pluralism. The process of formation of the DECs took place in an atmosphere of greater transparency as compared to the previous local elections of 2014, but in general the new practices and the results of the formation of the DECs did not differ from previous election campaigns. See the full report here.
According to observers, the registration of nomination groups was marked by several flaws, e.g. in the Orša district commission. The commission registered a nomination group of Sviataslau Chernikau, head of the Radunskaje agricultural enterprise, who specified his party affiliation as the “Belaya Rus party”. After observers of the campaign “Human Rights Defenders For Free Elections” objected that there is no such party in the country, the commission agreed but did not change its decision, promising to look into the matter. See the full report here.
The precinct election commissions (hereinafter —PECs) are the key actor of the election process. It is the PECs that directly organize and conduct early voting, voting on Election Day, and home voting, counting of the votes and tabulation at the polling stations. As in the previous local elections, one of the essential legally - enshrined obstacles to the nomination of representatives of political parties and public associations to the PECs is a requirement to possess registered local branches. See the full report here.