Opposition: As Before, there are No Elections in Belarus
Thirteen opposition political parties and non-governmental organizations have condemned the ongoing local elections campaign as undemocratic.
"As before, there are no elections in the Republic of Belarus," says a joint statement adopted on April 2. "Consequently, there are no grounds for recognizing the current election campaign as meeting standards for free and fair elections."
The results that will be announced after the April 25 elections will not be a reflection of the will of the Belarusian voters, the statement says.
Although pro-democratic parties and organizations initially sought to take an active part in the campaign, only 200 of their more than 1000 representatives were included in election commissions, or 0.3 percent of the total membership of election commissions across the country, the statement says.
In addition, opposition forces drew up lists of 2,500 potential candidates, but an unprecedented campaign of intimidation that was unleashed instead of the promised liberalization caused most of those people to abandon plans to run in the race, the statement says.
Pressure on potential candidates and also people who gave their signatures for their nomination and members of their nomination groups came from the heads of enterprises, organizations and educational institutions and from local officials, police, tax and supervision agencies, the statement says.
As a result, only 700 opposition contenders found the courage to stay in the elections campaign, the statement says. Fewer than 500 of them were registered, or about two percent of the total number of candidates, it adds.
In other words, the ongoing elections campaign does not differ in any meaningful way from the previous ones, which were not recognized by the international community as free and fair, the statement says.
According to it, the country`s electoral system is complete degraded and members of the National Assembly and local soviets are appointed and not elected.
To break the impasse, the government should start considering proposals for improving electoral regulations and their application, the statement says.
The statement was signed by the leaders of the Belarusian Popular Front, the United Civic Party, the "Spravedlivy Mir" (Just World) Belarusian Party of the Left, the Hramada Belarusian Social Democratic Party, the Belarusian Social Democratic Hramada, the Belarusian Party of Greens and the Movement for Freedom, and also by the unregistered Belarusian Christian Democracy, the Party of Freedom and Progress, the Belarusian Party of Working People, the Narodnaya Hramada Belarusian Social Democratic Party, the Nadzeya Belarusian Women’s Party and the Movement for the Free Development of Enterprise.