Belarus

Report on Belarus Parliamentary Elections

Belarusian authorities have not abandoned the repressive practices against their political opponents: peaceful protesters are still subjected to administrative liability, other civil and political rights are restricted, the country has new political prisoners. The Belarusian authorities have not made any measures aimed at systemic and qualitative changes in the field of human rights, especially at the legislative level - this is a conclusion of the recently published report on the 2016 Parliamentary Elections in Belarus by the Human Rights Center “Viasna” and the Belarusian Helsinki Committee, both members of the European Platform for Democratic Elections (EPDE), in the framework of the campaign "Human Rights Defenders for Free Elections".

The report, called "Results of Independent Observation: Facts, Analysis, Comments", provides an analysis of all stages of the elections to the House of Representatives of the National Assembly of the Republic of Belarus of the sixth convocation held on 11 September 2016.

Conclusions of the report

The parliamentary elections of 2016 were called against the backdrop of a complicated geopolitical situation in the world and Europe, in particular, which was primarily due to the Russian-Ukrainian crisis. Despite the fact that the vote was accompanied by unfavorable trends in the social and economic spheres, the campaign took place against a more favorable internal political background as compared to earlier elections.

It should be noted that the Belarusian authorities have not abandoned the repressive practices against their political opponents: peaceful protesters are still subjected to administrative liability,other civil and political rights are restricted, the country has new political prisoners. The Belarusian authorities have not made any measures aimed at systemic and qualitative changes in the field of human rights, especially at the legislative level.

The elections were marked by a number of positive trends: absence of significant constraints on the part of the authorities in the collection of signatures for nominating candidates and conducting campaign activities, a small percentage of refusals to register nominations groups and candidates.

However, the Belarusian authorities did not take into account the recommendations of the OSCE ODIHR and the campaign Human Rights Defenders for Free Elections, which were developed on the basis of observation of earlier campaigns, while the few, but widely announced changes were obviously unable to contribute to a qualitative change in the nature of the elections towards greater democracy and transparency.

The elections did not meet a number of key international standards for democratic and free elections, as well as the country’s electoral legislation. First of all, the findings are due to the lack of equal access to state media for all candidates, lack of impartiality of election commissions, facts of abuse of administrative resources in favor of the pro-government candidates, numerous facts of forcing voters to participate in early voting, non-transparency of some election procedures for observers.

Traditionally, greatest criticism is caused by the opaque vote count procedures, which gives rise to serious doubts about the conformity of the results of this calculation to the actual will of the voters.

Full report "Results of Independent Observation: Facts, Analysis, Comments"

 

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