Optimistic observers

International observers continue their thorough monitoring of our pre-election campaign

International observers continue their thorough monitoring of our pre-election campaign, not voicing their preliminary assessments, as is traditional. Meanwhile, a briefing by the alliance of the election observation missions is an exception.

The alliance of election observation missions arrives in Belarus as friends

The alliance of election observation missions is a group of international observers, which includes the European Institute Libertas (Germany), the European Foundation for Democracy (Belgium), and the European Democracy Institute (France). Ten of its representatives have come to Belarus and, in close co-operation with our students from the Belarusian State University’s Department of Philosophy and Social Sciences, they plan to analyse Belarus’ pre-election situation, also conducting observations on election day and afterwards.

Hans-Jürgen Zahorka — a representative of the alliance and from the European Institute Libertas, says this is not his first visit to Belarus. He was previously here as a university lecturer. “I wish to stress that the overall pre-election atmosphere at the moment has improved. I’m very optimistic. If elections continue developing in the same positive manner and you continue developing steadily, I think the final assessment will be positive. It will be an important step for Belarus to join the Council of Europe,” he noted.

A Programme Manager at the European Foundation for Democracy, Margherita Putrone, agrees, “We are happy to take part in the alliance’s work in Belarus. As regards my first impressions, I’m fully in agreement with my colleague.”  In turn, the head of Minsk’s delegation, Henrik Kroner, noted that fair elections are a sign of the normal development of democracy in a country.

With this in view, the alliance will analyse many aspects of our election campaign’s coverage by media — including printed editions, TV and radio programmes, Internet sites and outdoor advertising. It will also monitor the pre-election campaigns of the Presidential candidates. “Our first question will be whether they feel free in their movement and statements. As we know, to visit a small settlement to meet voters, candidates simply need to inform the local mayor; no other restrictions are in place.” Commenting on Belarus’ electoral legislation, the observer notes, “The legislation is transparent; regulation looks fair. From this point of view I think the elections will be fine.”


Hans-Jürgen Zahorka, the Managing Director of the European Institute Libertas:

If the assessment of the Presidential elections is positive, if they are fair and transparent, meeting Belarusian and international legislation — this would be viewed as great progress: not only for joining the Council of Europe but also simplifying the EU visa regime. This is because Belarus is a part of Europe.


One hundred percent visibility
For the first time, the 2015 elections will allow for independent voting for people with poor eyesight. Two special screens are planned for the voting stations. This does not exclude however, the possibility for such people to vote in a cabin with the accompaniment of another person. They can also ask others to help them complete the voting form.
By Veniamin Mikheev
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