In the Republic of Belarus
Independent Observation Results
Edited By: Tatyana Protko
Edited and compiled by: Harry Pogoniaylo, Oleg Gulak, Dmitry Markushevsky, Aleksandra Shebaltseva
© 2006, BHC & MHG
Prepared by Regional public association (RPA) “Byelorussian Helsinki Committee”
68 K. Liebknecht ul., 1201, Minsk, 220036, Byelorussia.
Published by Moscow Helsinki Group,
22 Bolshoy Golovin per., build. 1, Moscow, 107045, Russia.
Chapter 1. International commitments of Byelorussia on holding election and its implementation during previous campaigns, and international organizations’ recommendations on democratization of elections.
Standards of Copenhagen document and CIS.
ODIHR OSCE Mission’s evaluation of Presidential election on September 9, 2006.
Recommendations on move toward more democratic elections.
Chapter 2. Election Legislation of the Republic of Belarus and some aspects of its application.
2.1. Legal foundations of President Election of Republic of Belarus
2.1.1. Election code of Republic of Byelorussia.
2.1.2. Other statutory acts on organization and conduction of elections
2.2. Some problems of legal application.
2.2.1. Fairness and openness of counting of votes.
2.2.2. On legitimacy of participation of A. Lukashenko in Presidential elections in Byelorussia in 2006.
2.3. Access to courts.
Chapter 3. Situation in the country before elections and during the campaign.
3.1. Economical, social and political situation in the country.
3.2. The presence of apathy and the atmosphere of fear.
3.3. The disbelief of the electors that the election will be just and fair.
3.4. The close and restriction of the work of the democratic mass media, independent sociological services.
3.5. The detentions and arrests of the leaders of the opposition and the members of the regional headquarters.
Chapter 4. The factors of the election process of 2006.
4.1. Holding the election before the appointed time.
4.2. Financing of election process.
4.3. The forming of the organs providing the preparation, holding the election and the calculation of the votes.
4.3.1. The forming of regional and district committees. The forming of the territorial election committees
4.3.2. The forming of the divisional election committee.
4.4. The registration of the initiative groups and the collection of the signatures of the electors, necessary for the registration of the candidate.
4.5. The registration of the president-candidates of the republic of Byelorussia.
4.6. The election campaign.
4.7. Adninistrative resources deplopment.
Chapter 5. Observation of elections.
Chapter 6. Situation in the country after the election.
Regional public association “Byelorussian Helsinki Committee” (BHC) conducted monitoring of Presidential elections in the Republic of Belarus which took place on March 19, 2006 to check its compliance with national legislation and international commitments of Byelorussia. About 300 BHC representatives participated in the inspection together with Moscow Helsinki Group representatives, who performed monitoring as registered inspectors, as well as long-term expert inspectors and journalists. Monitoring took place in all regions and in the city of Minsk.
Actions of state authorities and election committees of different levels violating the Election Code significantly narrowed possibilities of the monitoring. As a result important election processes and procedures became virtually unavailable for inspection: forming of the territory and local election committees; compilation and correction of lists of voters; printing of ballot-papers and their transfer to election committees; authentication of voters’ signatures in support of Presidential nominees; transfer of final vote protocols to higher committees. The number of people who voted early was not disclosed for inspectors. Monitoring of voting and counting of votes was limited and inspectors were granted only the right to be present on premises, while inspectors were practically denied the rights to see the process of giving and counting of ballots.
An atmosphere of fear which filled the election also complicated the monitoring. Many people who informed BHC and complained to it about violation of their electoral rights refused to leave written statements or give their names because they feared persecution by authorities or loss of their jobs.
A complete independent monitoring similar to the one in 2001 campaign was not conducted at this time. One of the reasons was a liquidation of many non-government and human rights organizations forced by authorities, and arrest, just before elections, of activists of association “Partnerstvo” (Partnership).
At the same time about 30,000 national inspectors were registered at the elections. Many of them were directed to the elections by their work collectives. However their independence and objectiveness is doubtful because they were nominated by the same work collectives as the members of election committees, and therefore monitored their colleagues and superiors. It is important to note that the procedure of work collective meetings exclude the possibility of nominating of a representative who is not loyal to authorities, because the meeting is conducted only with consent and participation of the enterprise administration. Significant number of inspectors was directed by pro-President public organizations (BRSM, veteran unions and others) Often their only goal was to neutralize active inspectors from the opposition.
Selective monitoring was conducted by campaign headquarters of candidates A. Milinkevich and A. Kozulin. These inspectors' authorities were legalized on behalf of NGOs, which still had their registrations, and by collecting voters’ signatures.
The campaign was also monitored by a mission of CIS inspectors as well as long- and short-term inspectors from OSCE.