Belarus

Discrimination against opposition in formation of DECs and PECs

Parliamentary elections 2019. Report on the formation of territorial and district election commissions

Observation of the elections to the House of Representatives of the National Assembly of Belarus is carried out by the Belarusian Helsinki Committee and the Human Rights Center “Viasna” in the framework of the campaign “Human Rights Defenders for Free Elections”.

 

 

SUMMARY

- the territorial election commissions (TECs) and the district election commissions (DECs) are an important mechanism of the electoral process, which significantly affects the holding of free and democratic elections;

- 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;

- all the actors that nominated their representatives to the TECs and DECs had the opportunity to submit the necessary documents to the authorities who formed the commissions and to be present at their meetings;

- the meetings of the bodies in the majority of cases considered the professional and personal qualities of the candidates nominated to election commissions; separate votes were taken on each nominee; there were discriminatory approaches in voicing the qualities of certain candidates nominated by opposition parties and movements;

- the majority of nominees to the DECs (49.4%) and TECs (43.6%) represented public associations; 12 political parties, including five opposition, accounted for 25% of the representatives in the TECs and 17.6% in the DECs; five opposition parties nominated a total of 146 people, representing 38.9% of the number nominated by all political parties;

- 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;

- the proportion of representatives of political parties on the TECs and DECs is still low (25% and 17.6%, respectively), as compared to the representatives of public associations (43.6% and 49.4%, respectively);

- representatives of the five largest pro-government associations and unions affiliated to the FPB, recently joined by the Belarusian Peace Foundation, are still the main organizers of the elections; the success rate of their representatives is 92.8% to the TECs and 93.6% to the DECs;

- the success rate of the representatives of opposition parties is traditionally low: only 18.75% of the nominees were elected to the TECs and 21.2% to the DECs; the selection ratios of representatives of the three opposition associations (BPF “Adradzhenne”, Movement “Za Svabodu” and “Tell the Truth”) are 0% for the TECs and 2.8% for the DECs;

- the total number of members of opposition parties and associations on all the election commissions constitutes 2.5% of all the commission members.

Read the full report here

 

Report on the formation of precinct election commissions

Observation of the elections to the House of Representatives of the National Assembly of Belarus is carried out by the Belarusian Helsinki Committee and the Human Rights Center “Viasna” in the framework of the campaign “Human Rights Defenders for Free Elections”.

 

 

SUMMARY
1. On October 2, the authorities completed the formation of the precinct election commissions (PECs), which are an important element of the electoral process directly responsible for the organization of voting and vote counting. A total of 5,785 PECs have been formed, with 63,646 persons selected as their members.

2. All the observers of the campaign “Human Rights Defenders for Free Elections” were able to freely attend the meetings of bodies that formed the PECs. The observation covered 41 meetings of the bodies (executive committees and district administrations in the cities) which formed the PECs.

3. All the entities who nominated their representatives to the PECs had the opportunity to submit the necessary documents to the bodies that formed them and to attend their meetings.

4. In most cases (77.5%), there was no discussion of nominated applicants, while the drafted lists of nominees were put on a vote without a discussion of the candidates (52.5% of cases). This applies mainly to the DECs, in which there was no competition and all the nominated persons were included in the commissions. At the same time, in some cases, observers reported that the nominees were pre-selected by specially established working groups.

5. In some cases, observers reported refusals to put submitted documents on a vote due to the presence of errors, e.g. failure to specify the name and number of the electoral district. At the same time, the numbering of polling stations in these districts was changed ahead of the elections. It should be noted that the sample protocol for the delegation of the representatives of parties and other public associations to the PECs, which was approved by the Central Election Commission’s decision No. 30, does not contain such details as the name and number of the electoral district.

6. In most cases, observers report the employment-based principle of the formation of election commissions, when members of the commission are co-workers and their direct superior is the chairperson of the election commission. The composition of the PECs, according to the campaign’s observers, did not reveal any significant changes since the previous elections.

7. 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 in respect of opposition parties and movements.

8. The formation of the PEC was marked by an obvious discriminatory approach on the part of the executive committees towards representatives of the opposition parties: out of 495 nominees to the PECs, as few as 21 persons (4.2% of the nominated) were included in the commissions, while out of 3,884 persons nominated by the pro-government parties, 3,763 people (96.9% of the nominated) were elected commission members; the five largest pro-government associations —Youth Union, Belaya Rus, Women’s Union, Union of War Veterans, Belarusian Peace Foundation and the FPB trade unions — nominated 28,980 people, of which 27,790 persons (95.9% of the nominated) were elected to the commissions.

9. The total number of members of opposition parties on the PECs is 21 people, or 0.033% of the total composition of the PECs, which is up to three times less than in the previous parliamentary elections of 2008, 2012 and 2016.

Read the full report here

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