Reporters Without Borders (RSF) condemns the explusions of several journalists and bloggers from voting stations in Minsk as votes were being counted after the Belarusian municipal elections on 18 February. RSF regard the evictions, in which violence was used, as deliberate censorship. Observers meanwhile claimed that election fraud took place.
The campaign "Human Rights Defenders for Free Elections" announces a press conference to present the results of monitoring the elections of deputies of local councils of the 28th convocation to be held at 11 am, February 19 at Press Club Belarus in Minsk.
The election commissions did not create significant obstacles to the registration of nomination groups, with almost all groups having been registered. It should be noted that the election authorities registered all the groups formed to nominate members of political parties.
Preventing a large number of candidates from the opposition to run in the local elections is the most glaring peculiarity of the phase of registration of candidates, which ended on January 18. Cases of denying registration on formal grounds have been reported by both independent observers and representatives of political parties from different regions of the country. Analysts believe the move by local authorities is a logical continuation of measures to ensure the desired voter turnout.
The precinct election commissions 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.
The fact sheet provides a timeline of measures taken by the campaign's experts towards cooperation with the interdepartmental expert working group under the CEC set up to examine the OSCE ODIHRrecommendations and to develop proposals to amend the electoral law.
Absence of any public information regarding previously announced steps to improve the election legislation suggests that the work of state bodies in this direction has been frozen. Despite this, human rights activists involved in independent monitoring of election campaigns and analytical work in the area continue their efforts aimed at bringing the provisions of the Electoral Code and law enforcement practices in line with international standards.
The interdepartmental working group considered yesterday the recommendations on improving the electoral process in Belarus that were made by the OSCE ODIHR following last year’s parliamentary elections. Priority recommendations submitted by the campaign Human Rights Defenders for Free Elections were also presented at the meeting.