Observation campaign coordinator Aliaksandr Silkoŭ (Aliaksandr Silkou), campaign spokesman Ihar Barysaŭ, and First Deputy Chairman of the Movement For Freedom (MFF) Juraś Hubarevič (Yuras Hubarevich) have analysed by several criteria the process of formation of commissions on the election to the House of Representatives. They took into account the number of representatives from opposition parties and organisations who were nominated and who were included in the commissions, the procedure for inclusion of particular nominees, and the results of appeals against the decisions on non-inclusion of opposition representatives, including through court.
The Right of Choice 2016 campaign representatives came to the following conclusions:
At the current stage, the election campaign follows the usual scenario for Belarus, which could serve as a ground to distrust the election results.
Opposition parties and associations, as a whole, have demonstrated less activity in nominating their representatives to election commissions compared to the parliamentary election in 2012.
The procedure of interviewing the persons nominated to commissions had a fictitious nature and did not actually affect the balance of commissions and the representation of different political forces in them.
The overwhelming majority of nominated representatives of pro-government organisations were included in election commissions, while the absolute majority of nominees from opposition parties and independent associations have been declined.
Court appeals against the decisions on formation of election commissions are not an effective means of meeting the legitimate interests of political parties, because the courts never take decisions to revise the composition of commissions.
“I was personally present at a meeting of the Presidium of Minsk Region Executive Committee and Minsk Region Council of Deputies, and I saw how commissions are formed. Presidium representatives have the lists made in advance, the candidates and the names are announced, both the representatives of political structures and civic organisation have an opportunity to speak in favour of a candidate; however, this does not affect the final decision in any way,” said Juraś Hubarevič.
He also noted the innovation of this campaign — namely, the existence of certain working groups, which conduct the review of the list of contenders and make recommendations before the meetings of the bodies responsible for the formation of commissions. The Right of Choice 2016 campaign considers such activity illegal, because it has nothing to do with the declared transparent procedure of formation of commissions.
Across the country, only 5 representatives of opposition parties (out of the 16 nominated) were included in territorial election commissions and only 26 representatives (out of the 134 nominated) were included in constituency election commissions. The total percentage of their representatives in territorial and constituency election commissions remained miserable — 5.4% and 1.8%, respectively. The share of the representatives of opposition parties in constituency election commissions was 3% during the parliamentary election in 2012 and 2.2% at the election in 2008.
On average, 1 out of 20 nominated representatives from opposition parties was included in precinct election commissions. At the same time, this proportion is reversed in the case of civic organisations and political parties loyal to the regime — over 90% of the nominated representatives of such organisations were included in precinct election commissions.
“We’d like to emphasize separately that there are 11 constituencies where strong opposition candidates are nominated and where we plan to conduct total observation. And we have set the task for one half of the representatives in the election commissions in these constituencies to be our representatives; however, only a few persons were included. Only 17 out of the 274 persons nominated to the commissions were included in them,” said observation campaign coordinator Aliaksandr Silkoŭ.
Campaign representatives also noted the pressure that was exerted on individual nominees to commissions, which was one of the reasons that forced some of them to withdraw from the election. As for appealing against the non-inclusion in election commissions of all levels, it had no effect.
The Right of Choice 2016 election observation campaign includes eight organisations — the Belarusian Social Democratic Party (‘Hramada’) (BSDP), the Belarusian Christian Democracy (BCD) party, the United Civil Party (UCP), the Movement For Freedom (MFF), the Belarusian Popular Front (BPF) party, the Belarusian Green Party, the Independent Trade-Union of Radioelectronic Industry, and the Organising Committee for Foundation of the Party of Freedom and Progress (PFP).
Campaign’s main objective is to protect the true will of citizens by preventing any violations of the law at all stages of the election campaign, registering the violations, and responding promptly to them.