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Misrepresentation, “carousel” voting, and other falsification — MFF members speak about the local election

Misrepresentation, “carousel” voting, and other falsification — MFF members speak about the local election

2117 views Mogilev Baranovichi Brest Vitebsk Gorki Drybin Lida Berezovka Minsk Slonim Grodno
The members of the Movement For Freedom (MFF), who passed the registration stage and participated in the election as candidates for deputies of councils at various levels, were interviewed by us concerning the results of the election campaign to local councils.

Yuri Hubarevich, MFF Chairman, ex-candidate for Minsk City Council

“My district had a standard set of violations. First, to ensure the desired result, the Election Commission manipulated voter turnout during the early voting. Second, non-admission of observers to count the votes was registered,” told Hubarevich to

Ballot station No. 7 was the exception in this series — the observers and deputy representatives made the commission to conduct a fair counting of votes." And as the result, this was the only ballot station where it was officially recognized that I won," stresses the politician, noting that he filed a complaint about the non-recognition of the election results.

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Yuri Kazakevich, MFF Brest Region Coordinator, ex-candidate for Baranavichy City Council and Brest Region Council

“This year, the members of ‘election’ commissions lied especially brazenly and shamelessly — no one expected anything other, of course, but this was outrageous... There was a large number of violations of their own laws. However, they checked citizens’ signatures when registering independent candidates extremely meticulously! This is where they were very principled,” said Kazakevich.

According to him, “the commissions ‘wrote’ between 8.3% to 21.6% (to a communist) for non-governmental candidates for Baranavichy City Council.” “I got the least of all! And I wonder, is it good or bad? I think it’s good!” said Kazakevich.

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Danuta Vasiliuk, MFF member, ex-candidate for Baranavichy City Council

“According to the official figures, I received 16.7%. I expected that it will be like this,” noted Vasiliuk. “People voted and supported me. Thanks to everyone who voted for me.”

After the election, she plans to continue her activities and keep fighting for her district. “I will prepare an appeal to the City Council, I will begin collecting signatures and talk to people, I will tell them about the deception at the local election, and I will demand that the road in our district is completed and sewerage construction begins,” added the MFF activist.

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Mikita Semianenka, MFF member, ex-candidate for Minsk City Council

“I don’t have the final figures of the election today, because many independent observers didn’t manage to stay at all the ballot stations during the vote count,” said Semianenka.

He reminded that it was in his constituency that the scandal with the code 000-179 happened, when this code in the passport allowed a person to vote multiple times. “I cannot accept the results of the vote in my Kuntsaushchyna district. There was the scandal with the code 000-179, ‘carousels’ were recorded, and voter turnout was forged, so election fraud occurred. Election in Kuntsaushchyna did not take place,” thinks Semianenka.

The young politician filed a complaint about the non-recognition of the election and complaints to law enforcement agencies to investigate the falsifications.

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Khrystafor Zhaliapau, MFF Council member, ex-candidate for Vitsebsk City Council

“Everything happened at this election as it was expected. There were no illusions that anything would be done in another way,” noted Zhaliapau.

He stressed that it was in order to make it easier to falsify the election that voter turnout was forged and that a high percentage of people participated in early voting.

Uladzimir Simankovich, MFF member, ex-candidate for Vitsebsk City Council

“They wrote 3.82% for me, which is the second place of the two candidates,” said Simankovich. Among the violations, he mentioned an incredible number of voters who voted at the place of residence in one of the precincts — 200 persons in one hour.

But, in general, says the politician, the impressions of this election are lighter than of the previous one — everything was less gloomy and vile.

“My future plans are not to stop my political activities together with the MFF and to prepare to participate in the presidential election. In Vitebsk, we are ready for anything,” added Simankovich.

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Aliaksey Haurutsikau, MFF member, ex-candidate for Vitsebsk Region Council and Vitsebsk City Council

“They gave me the second place. And, what is most surprising, this concerns all the three precincts, of which two are new ones and one is where I live and which I represented as a deputy — people here for 7.5 years have addressed me as a deputy when they met me in the street, because they voted for me and they did not know that they ‘elected’ another candidate. Now then, of the 1,245 voters of this precinct, 92 voted for me and 1,053 voted for a District Administration department head. This is pure mockery,” said Haurutsikau.

According to him, there is more work to do: “The parliamentary and the presidential campaigns await us. I will continue to promote my ideas during the parliamentary campaign. Some of them, thanks to the previous campaigns, have already got into the legislation,” added the MFF activist.

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Zmitser Shymanski, MFF member, ex-candidate for Brest City Council

“My official result at the election is 21.4%, which is the second place in the constituency,” said Shymanski.

According to him, the violations during the elections were “very standard”: “Observers weren’t allowed to the tables when vote count was performed and had to stand three meters away. They counted all the ballots in the stacks at one ballot station only. So, I won there,” added the politician.

“Nothing has really changed. Someone says that the regime is gradually liberalized, but it concerns neither the country’s administration nor the decision-making. The elections are completely controlled and completely rigged. The deputies were not elected from those who can defend the interests of the people, but the sycophants and the regime supporters were appointed. These are not the deputies — they turned local councils into some kind of club of directors and heads. They defend the interests of local authorities against the voters, while the opposite should be happening,” thinks the MFF activist.

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Ales Masiuk, MFF member, ex-candidate for Slonim District Council of Deputies

“Many people have the feeling that this election was even more brutal than the previous one. For example, I always stood near the table during vote count previously. This time when vote count started, I came close to the early voting box at the distance of 1.5 metres to see everything. The commission chairperson jumped up immediately: ‘Keep back! You are interfering with the commission’s work!’ Why am I interfering? I may be only preventing them from committing lawlessness,” said Masiuk.

According to him, he has lost just 29 votes according to the official figures. “But I definitely won. We went through the whole constituency and handed leaflets to each person we visited. We inserted the leaflets in the doors only if there was nobody at home,” said Masiuk.

The commission “lost” 106 voters during vote count, so the ex-candidate filed a complaint about non-recognition of the election and intends to go all the way.

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Andrey Yurkou, MFF Council member, ex-candidate for Drybin District Council of Deputies

“At this election, I did everything I could — an article was published in a newspaper and I held a meeting with the residents. And the results were predictable,” noted Yurkou.

The MFF Council member plans to continue his activities in the normal mode and to participate in other campaigns.

Illia Dabratvor, MFF Region Council member, ex-candidate for Minsk Region Council, Minsk District Council, and Kalodzishchy Rural Council

“According to the official data, I have over 10% in all the precincts. They gave me the third place everywhere. Note that I was victorious almost everywhere on the election day, but there was the opposite picture during the early voting,” said Dabratvor.

In general, he thinks that the situation is only getting worse at the Belarusian elections. “The conditions are very harsh; it’s clear why they oppress us, political activists, but they even forged a leaflet to remove an independent candidate for rural council,” noted the politician.

He sees the prospect in the further work with the persons who came to observe the election in his constituency. “At this campaign, almost all of my observers were locals. We should get together, talk, and think about how we will work on. It turns out that the authorities gather me a team with their own hands,” concluded the MFF member.

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Siarhey Vakulenka, MFF member, ex-candidate for Brest Region Council

“I am dissatisfied with the result. I was the second in my constituency. I hoped that people are tired of all and would vote differently. Maybe it was so, but early voting interferes with everything — the figures on the main day and during early voting are, in fact, the opposite. From this, we can conclude that someone intervenes in the process and falsifies the results,” said Vakulenka.

At the same time, he admits that it is difficult to prove the falsification — there is no way to constantly monitor the early voting and to witness the preservation of ballots in the ballot boxes.

In the future, he plans to continue his public political work, in particular, against the construction of a battery factory in Brest: “In this case, the authorities are only listening to business, but should think about the people.”

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Yaraslau Hryhoryeu, MFF member, ex-candidate for Mahiliou City Council

“I ranked the fourth out of four with 500 votes. I think I had a good campaign for a 19-year-old,” said Hryhoryeu.

According to him, he met with the voters and was pasting up fliers — the only one who campaigned in the constituency.

“I had no observers at the early voting. And the vote count, where we were present, was conducted according to the law. But why should they violate it, if they could violate all they need during early voting,” said the young man.

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Vitold Ashurak, MFF member, ex-candidate for Biarozauka Town Council

“According to the election commission’s minutes, I received 15.9%. There were two candidates at my constituency, that is I got a ‘silver’,” said Ashurak.

According to him, voter turnout was overstated in his constituency — additional 132 votes appeared during the early voting and 500 more were added on the main day; all these violations are recorded, and a formal complaint was filed. The politician noted that he liked most of all “how the forgers tried to hide their deception — they counted the votes for 6 hours, so we left the ballot station at 3 a.m.”

“That is, I received my almost 16% even with a terrible falsification,” noted the MFF member.

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Siarhey Pantus, MFF member, ex-candidate for Biarozauka Town Council

“I took the second place of the two with 19.5% of votes of the participating voters. But this is according to the commission’s data,” said Pantus.

He mentioned such violations as overstatement of voter turnout, prohibition of photo, audio, and video recording during vote count, and the secret way of vote count, in general.

The politician has “normal impression” of this election. “I had no illusions about the results. I think I fulfilled my task to participate as a candidate and to organize the observation,” said the ex-candidate for deputy.

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Valer Minets, MFF member, ex-candidate for Lida District Tratsiakouka Rural Council

“According to the official data, I scored 15.2%. Before the start of the local election, they rearranged the constituency — my village was attributed to another constituency. The residents of our village address me if they have some problems, so if they voted, they would vote for me,” said Minets.

The most important thing, thinks the MFF member, “is that at this election we got the experience and practice, an opportunity to present ourselves to the residents, and to share our thoughts and programmes. Elections are the work for the future — it is the formation of a permanent civil society, without which there can be no change. Therefore, this election is a part of this work,” stressed the politician.

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Dzianis Turchaniak, MFF Council member, ex-candidate for Brest City Council

Turchaniak and three more candidates filed an application for non-recognition of the results of the election to the City Election Commission. “They started the meeting with stating that they will be approving the results. “Before approving the results, you have to consider the complaints,” I say. This caused a pause, and the commission chairperson didn’t know what to answer. The initiative was seized by a commission member, who said: “We should not change the agenda. Their applications will be considered at another meeting,” said the ex-candidate.

According to him, the observers’ complaints weren’t taken into account either.

The election results are totally predicted, thinks Turchaniak. “I set a goal to understand the existing mechanisms of falsification. This goal has been achieved. We’ll intensify the observation on certain points at the next election,” he promised.

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Yuri Meliashkevich, MFF Deputy Chairman, ex-candidate for Minsk City Council

“The regime gave me the third place with 7.7%,” told Meliashkevich.

There was no observation in his constituency, so the ex-candidate is not talking about specific violations. “The entire elections in Belarus are massive violations,” thinks Meliashkevich. However, he has a good impression about voters after this campaign.

The politician plans to further self-educate and self-develop, as well as to solve his constituency’s problems. “I will be dealing with more personal matters to show that the democratic community has a qualitatively better proposal,” explained MFF Deputy Chairman.

Yauhen Dudkin, MFF member, ex-candidate for Hrodna City Council

“I have a second place in my constituency with 30% of the vote at some ballot stations. The votes have been surely stolen, therefore the result is like this,” noted Dudkin.

He mentioned such violations as the illegal removal of observers and deputy representatives from the ballot station, the secret and non-public vote count, and the fact that the early vote figures of the observers and those in the minutes differed.

“Now, it’s important for me to show the voters how the election took place and the value of the promises declared by the pro-regime candidates,” concluded Dudkin.

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“Overall, I am satisfied with the activities of the MFF members. It wasn’t easy for them to campaign in the conditions of fraud; however, in Minsk, for example, we had the most active campaigns,” stated MFF Chairman Yuri Hubarevich.

In addition, added the MFF Chairman, new people joined during the campaign, who actively helped us during campaigning and observation, and there was a large number of voters who supported our candidates.

“These voters were convinced that the regime is stealing their votes, and that it’s impossible to count on those who are not elected but are appointed. In the future, our candidates can count on the support of these people,” said the politician.

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