Positive bilateral liaisons will be surely continued
OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights publishes its report with the results of its findings and assessments of international observers during the Belarus Presidential elections on October 11th, 2015
OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights publishes its report with the results of its findings and assessments of international observers during the Belarus Presidential elections on October 11th, 2015.
The assessments are generally complex and can often be interpreted to suit the reader. However, careful analysis and comparison to similar documents relating to past election campaigns demonstrates that many positive changes have taken place. The present report states that each initiative group was able to collect signatures and campaign throughout the whole of Belarus. The period of signature collection and election campaign was prolonged. Moreover, the OSCE/ODIHR experts registered equal rights and uncensored access of candidates to the mass media, in addition to a welcoming and positive attitude to the international observers, which is highly appreciated. Three years ago, the US Presidential elections greatly embarrassed the OSCE with the Texas Prosecutor’s decision to announce that the presence of OSCE representatives closer than 100 feet to the polling station could be viewed as a crime.
Among other positive changes in the recent campaign, the report names a greater number of women in election commissions, as well as strict and precise technical preparations (which took place on time). Even the assessment of the pre-scheduled voting (much criticised in the past) is more positive. Some criticism is mentioned, among the negative aspects of the campaign are, once again, the accusation of the lack of transparency of the election process and a failure to take into consideration the OSCE’s previous recommendations. The report also comments on the fact that anyone who has previously been imprisoned is not allowed to vote. It also states that campaigning was not active and the quality of some voting boxes could have been better. The international observers noted that only one candidate openly criticised the acting President. Moreover, any calls for a voting boycott were prohibited.
The Chair of the Central Commission on Elections and Holding Republican Referenda, Lidia Yermoshina, views the published document as constructive. “It contains subjective comments too, when an expert has noted their own particular views and preferences, as well as recommendations. However, generally speaking, I’m satisfied with the report. More importantly, I’m pleased with the process of interaction between the OSCE and Belarus.”
Minsk has also been recently visited by the ODIHR/OSCE Director, Georg Link. During his two-day stay in our country, he held a meeting at the Central Election Commission office to discuss the OSCE recommendations and methods of implementation. The Central Commission’s Secretary, Nikolai Lozovik, indicated that some changes would take place before the forthcoming parliamentary elections. “As regards any changes that could be introduced as a result of the Central Election Commission’s decree, we plan to work to realise as many of these as possible. This refers to the transparency of some stages of the election campaign, the expansion of international observers’ rights and several technical issues,” he said.
In the near future, experts will also discuss issues of law enforcement practice in detail.
By Maxim Osipov