Updated at 13:48,15-08-2017

Rights defenders: No need for voters at Belarusian elections

Euroradio

Rights defenders: No need for voters at Belarusian elections
Independent campaign Right Defenders for Fair Elections and Right of Choice-2016 discussed the results of the parliamentary election in Belarus at a meeting of the OSCE/ODIHR on September 22.

The election in Belarus was not democratic because the old problems have not been solved so far, rights defenders concluded. Election committees were formed without the opposition. There were only 5.2% of oppositionists in election committees all over the country. Phantom parties were created (like the Sport Party) to nominate their candidates. The early vote is still a big problem because the administrative resource is used for it: students are forced to vote early.

More than 73% of international observers were unable to see the vote count. A third of all candidates did not create election funds. It means that they were either sparring partners or simply withdrew in favour of pro-government candidates. Some of them were so sure of their victory that they did not want to agitate.

The vote count was not transparent in 90% of the cases. It is worse than at the previous election.

Journalists were not openly persecuted during the election campaign, BAJ ex-chairperson Zhanna Litvina said. They were not detained, printed editions were not confiscated. However, there were a few attempts to block some websites on the Election Day. It was ‘a faceless campaign without programmes’, she thinks.

The human rights situation has not improved: there are political prisoners in Belarus and there is no guarantee that their number will not increase anytime soon, rights defender Ales Bialiatski stressed. The Belarusian authorities would not abolish the death penalty although the West keeps mentioning the issue during discussions with official Minsk. That is why the human rights situation is still disturbing, the rights defender noted.

It is interesting to assess the election results for the first time in Belarus, political scientist and lawyer Yury Chavusau joked. There will be two oppositionists in Parliament.