Documents

Parliamentary Elections

Full analytical report

Belarusian Helsinki Committee / Human Rights Center "Viasna"

According to the “Human Rights Defenders for Free Elections”, these elections do not meet international standards of democratic and free elections for a number of reasons: lack of equal access to state media for all candidates, lack of impartial election commissions, use of administrative resource in favor of pro-government candidates, numerous cases of coercion of voters to participate in early voting, and intransparent vote counting procedures. 

 

Parliamentary Elections

Report on early voting

Belarusian Helsinki Committee / Human Rights Center "Viasna"

The official turnout for early voting is reported at 35.77%, which is the record high for the parliamentary elections since 2008. Official turnout figures were much greater than those reported by the observers. Participation in early voting was encouraged by the authorities. Administrations of government-owned enterprises and institutions, as well as universities strongly advised voters to participate in early voting, maintained records of early voters and reported on the progress of early voting to local executive authorities. In some cases early voting was characterized by coercion, under threats of reprisals for refusing to vote early.

 

Parliamentary Elections

Report on election campaigning

Belarusian Helsinki Committee / Human Rights Center "Viasna"

In general, local executive committees created favorable conditions for election campaigning and the number of places for holding public events increased in comparison with the elections of 2016. However, election campaigning was low key and administrative resources were widely used to promote the pro-government candidates, while non-affiliated and opposition candidates reported that their political campaigns were censored and there were cases of bans on broadcasting the campaign speeches of opposition candidates.

 

Parliamentary Elections

Interim Reports - Candidates' registration revoked and banned from public broadcasts

Belarusian Helsinki Committee / Human Rights Center "Viasna"

There are continued cases in the run up to the Parliamentary elections of candidates' registrations being revoked over alleged violations of Art. 47 and ongoing cases of bans on broadcasting the campaign speeches of opposition candidates; the DECs and the public media have demonstrated an extremely loose treatment of restrictions on campaigning activities, as established by Art. 47 of the Electoral Code, which in most cases constitutes censorship and unacceptable restrictions on freedom of expression.

 

Parliamentary Elections

Interim Reports - Censorship and penalties against candidates

Belarusian Helsinki Committee / Human Rights Center "Viasna"

Opposition candidates have been censored during their campaigning and have had their registrations revoked for criticising authorities, reports the election observation campaign “Human Rights Defenders for Free Elections”. Many appeals of candidates whose registration was refused have yet to be considered despite the period for this having already passed and only one appeal was successful. Cases of abuse of administrative resources for election campaigning by the pro-government candidates have been recorded, as well as creating obstacles to independent and opposition candidates in their campaigning events.

 
 

EPDE Publication

Comparative study on conditions for citizen election observation in the EU–EaP and Russia

EPDE

This comparative analysis by Tatyana Hilscher-Bogussevich of conditions for citizen election observers in the Eastern Neighborhood has found that Russia ranks the worst since there are no legal provisions allowing for civil society to be directly accredited as election observers. There is a similarly restrictive environment in Azerbaijan and Belarus. Other countries of the region rank better and generally facilitate citizen observation, however issues still remain. This study is a first in a series based on the newly launched Catalogue of Recommendations on Electoral Reform.

 

Parliamentary Elections

Report on the nomination and registration of candidates

Belarusian Helsinki Committee / Human Rights Center "Viasna"

The nomination and registration of candidates were not marked by any significant differences as compared to the previous parliamentary elections, concludes an interim report by the nation-wide campaign “Human Rights Defenders for Free Elections”. The elections retained all of the negative things that were observed during previous campaigns: low representation of opposition in election commissions, lack of diversity as commissioners are representatives of the same organizations, observers denied to observe the verification procedures of submitted candidates' registration documents.

 

Parliamentary Elections

Report on the formation of precinct election commissions

Belarusian Helsinki Committee / Human Rights Center "Viasna"

All the observers of the campaign “Human Rights Defenders for Free Elections” were able to freely attend the meetings of bodies that formed the precinct election commissions (PECs), but the absence of legal guarantees for the representation of all political actors on the election commissions, as in the past, resulted in arbitrary and discriminatory treatment towards opposition parties and movements. Out of 495 nominees to the PECs, 21 come from opposition parties, which is up to three times less than in the previous parliamentary elections of 2008, 2012 and 2016.

 

Catalogue of recommendations on electoral reform

Analysis on conditions for citizen observation

EPDE

Analysis including recent reports and recommendations by citizen observer organizations, open source information, and the newly developed Catalogue of Recommendations. Overall findings: Conditions for election observation, both in legislation and in practice, and attitudes towards it vary considerably from country to country. An observed rise in politically-motivated domestic observation can be noted, seriously damaging any credible non-partisan election observation.

 

 

Parliamentary Elections

Report on the formation of territorial and district election commissions

Belarusian Helsinki Committee / Human Rights Center "Viasna"

The majority of observers were able to freely attend meetings of bodies that formed the TECs and DECs; only five of them reported obstacles at the first meetings of the commissions; as in the past, absence of legislative guarantees of the proportional representation in the election commissions of all political actors involved in the elections results in arbitrary and discriminatory treatment in respect of opposition parties and movements;

 

 

Local Elections in Belarus

Final report

BHC & Viasna

The elections were very passive and hardly visible to the public. Despite the absence of any significant violations and obstacles at the electoral phases of registration of nomination groups, collecting of signatures and election campaigning, the stages that followed, including early voting, counting of the votes and the tabulation of voting results in higher commissions, were marred by numerous manipulations, active use of administrative resources and lack of transparency.

 

Local Elections in Belarus

Report on monitoring the phase of election campaigning

BHC & Viasna

The citizen observers inititive Human Rights Defenders for Free Elections claims that this year’s election is marked by a greater number of locations for campaigning events, a lack of information in the government-owned media candidates from the opposition, the use of administrative resources in favor of pro-government candidates. This created unequal conditions for other candidates. The district election commissions justified the practice by arguing that the deputies were engaged in their direct activities. 

 

Local Elections in Belarus

Report on monitoring the registration of candidates for deputies

BHC & Viasna

A total of 22,713 candidates for local councils of the twenty-eighth convocation have been nominated, which almost equals the number nominated during the last local elections of 2014 (22,784). Most candidates were nominated by citizens through signature collection — 15,172, which represents 66.8% of the total number of nominees, labor collectives — 5,356 (23.6%), political parties — 813 (3.6%).

 

Local Elections in Belarus

Report on monitoring the formation of precinct election commissions

BHC & Viasna

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.

 

Local Elections in Belarus

Report on the results of monitoring the registration of nomination groups

BHC & Viasna

According to the 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.

 
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