Documents

Presidential Election

Weekly Report - formation of precinct election commissions

Belarusian Helsinki Committee / Human Rights Center "Viasna"

On June 24 authorities completed the formation of Precinct Election Commissions (PECs) which are an important element of the electoral process directly engaged in the administration of voting and counting of votes. Observers note that the formation of PECs clearly discriminated against representatives of opposition parties: 1.1% of the total number of elected nominees are from opposition parties while 96.7% are from pro-government parties.

 

Presidential Election

Weekly Report - end of signature collection and further arrests of candidates

Belarusian Helsinki Committee / Human Rights Center "Viasna"

The end of the signature collection phase for contenders seeking to be nominated as a Presidential candidate was accompanied by a wave of further detentions, this time targeting the perhaps most popular participant of the election, ex-banker Viktar Babaryka. Observers also report on abuse of administrative resources in Lukashenka's campaign and that TECs have refused observers to observe signature verification procedures.

 

Presidential Election

Weekly Report - mass arrests and detentions of opposition activists

Belarusian Helsinki Committee / Human Rights Center "Viasna"

In this weekly report, observers from HRDFE report that mass arrests and detentions of opposition activists, including members of Tsikhanouskaya’s nomination group, took place in different cities of the country during the week. Observers also note that the CEC interpreted electoral law selectively in the favor of certain candidates, e.g. complaints filed against Lukashenka’s nomination group for abuse of administrative resources in the collection of his signatures were rejected.

 

Presidential Election

Weekly Report - crackdowns and discrimination against opposition

Belarusian Helsinki Committee / Human Rights Center "Viasna"

This week's observation report states that this year's campaign is marked by an increase in election-related protests, triggered also by public discontent over the handling of the COVID-19 crisis. Crackdowns and provocations by authorities against activists and members of other candidates' nomination groups have continued, and observers report an abuse of administrative resources in collecting signatures in support of incumbent President Lukashenka. 

 

Presidential Election

Report on the formation of territorial election commissions

Belarusian Helsinki Committee / Human Rights Center "Viasna"

Observers were unable to attend meetings on the establishment of territorial election commissions (TECs), which were livestreamed in response to COVID-19, but were still difficult for observers to monitor due to the poor quality of some of the livestreams. Most TEC nominees represent six pro-government parties and compared to the previous Presidential election the number of opposition representatives in TECs has decreased by 15 times and the ‘success rate’ to be selected has halved.

 

Presidential Election

Report on the registration of nomination groups

Belarusian Helsinki Committee / Human Rights Center "Viasna"

The CEC has registered 15 groups formed to support the nominations of future presidential candidates. However, it came under attack after it turned down 40 applications, mostly by opposition activists associated with former political prisoner Mikalai Statkevich. Well-known blogger Siarhei Tsikhanouski, was arrested and thus deprived of the opportunity to apply for the registration of his nomination group.

 

Presidential Election

Weekly report: Human rights situation deteriorating ahed of election

Belarusian Helsinki Committee / Human Rights Center "Viasna"

The Presidential election is scheduled for August 9 in Belarus and so far, authorities have ignored proposals to amend electoral procedures to minimize risks relating to COVID-19. Human Rights Defenders for Free Elections found that basic civil and political freedoms are hampered by significant legislative restrictions and report that the general human rights situation has deteriorated shortly before the election.

 

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.

 
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