Opposition leaders insisted Tuesday at a news conference in Minsk that more than half of eligible voters in Belarus and two-thirds of all voters in the Belarusian capital city did not go to the polls in the country’s September 18-23 House of Representatives elections.
"According to the data that we received from our people involved in various independent observation networks, we can say that more than half of Belarus’ voters did not take part in the vote," said Anatol Lyabedzka, chairman of the United Civic Party (UCP). "The [voter turnout] figure in Minsk is still more terrible for the authorities: two-thirds did not go to the polls. This is confirmed by data from both observers and those who were on election commissions. This gives us grounds to state that the [50-percent] turnout threshold was not reached in the so-called elections and they cannot have legal consequences for Belarus. We don’t have elected lawmakers. We don’t have an elected parliament. There is a black hole instead of it." There is no significant difference between data provided by different election observation groups, including activists of the Campaign for Fair Elections, the "Human Rights Defenders for Free Elections" campaign, observers of Belarusian Christian Democracy (BCD) and independent observers representing other organizations, noted BCD Co-chairman Vital Rymashewski. "All of them have almost the same figures, with gaps not exceeding two percentage points," he said. "The fact that the [turnout] figures [from different observation groups] almost coincide gives us grounds to say that the turnout threshold was not reached in Minsk and other large cities."
Although there was no independent election observation in rural areas, some 75 percent of Belarus’ population live in urban areas, according to the last census, and therefore "we can say that the data of our observation reflect the opinion of the majority," said Viktar Ivashkevich, leader of Belaruski Rukh.
"What happened in Belarus cannot be considered elections. Those were pseudo-elections for a pseudo-parliament," stressed Mr. Lyabedzka.