Detentions and violent actions of state officials
- In Maladzechna two activists of Andrei Sannikov’s presidential campaign, Yauen Karostsik and Alyaksandr Abramovich, were detained by police for a few hours on Wednesday while spreading posters. Abramovich was presented with a dubious search warrant, which he was not allowed to read. He expects a search of his flat.
Repressions, intimidations and bullying
- In Hrodna the Chairperson of the precinct electoral commission of electoral precinct #4 threatened to send away the independent observers because they were counting the people coming in for early voting. The observers Raman Baranouski and Liudmila Stsiarnitskaya considered such behavior of the chairperson to be unlawful and composed an appeal to the Central Election Commission.
- From Vitsebsk it is being reported by Viasna that, in secondary school #17 a parental meeting was announced for December 17 – parents are forced to bring there passports. Supposedly they will by intimidated into early voting. One witness stated that the street cleaners of Vitsebsk were forced to vote early by threads to loose their jobs if they do otherwise.
Irregularities during the election procedure
- Viasna filed a thorough report on the first day of early voting in Belarus, which was opened on Tuesday and is in many cases harshly promoted by superiors against their subordinates. Read the report here: http://www.spring96.org/en/news/39225. According to information of the central election commission already 7.2% of all accredited voters have supposedly cast their votes and joined in the early voting in only two days of open ballots.
- As the “Human Rights Defenders for Free Elections” campaign reports via Viasna, a member of the local election commission in Mahiliou told, that election officials have been engaged in adding ballots to ballot boxes during lunch break and immediately before the end of the day, when the slot is sealed for the night. Anonymous election commissioners in Minsk election precinct #20 even admitted that they were ordered to turn out a 68% result for Lukashenko in the ongoing elections. The observer Valyatsina Svyatskaya states that the early voting procedure obscures the exact number of votes given, also due to the fact that voters are permitted to give their vote at any ballot they chose, not only were they are registered, which is clearly a violation of the Electoral Code.
- In Baranavichy’s voting precinct #28 OSCE observers report, that the ballot box for early voting was moved illegally by the election commissions chairperson. Comparison of the people counted on giving their early votes on 14th and 15th of December show high discrepancies between the observers count and the official count of the election commission. For both days observer Tatsiana Tsaruk counted only 111 people while the commission counted 142 votes. Similar discrepancies are reported by observer Pavel Dabravolski, who counted people going to the vote in Minsk’s precinct #53. According to the commission, 630 people voted, whereas the observer counted only 570. The plump sealing the ballot box is reported to be a hoax and easily to be removed and restored if so wished. From Slutsk it was reported by Charter97 that one voter cast his vote twice. Similar reports are given by many independent observers all over Belarus. It has even been proven by “Human Rights Defenders for Free Elections” observers that, ballots might by thrown into sealed ballot boxes without opening them.
Belarusian and worldwide reactions
- On Freedom Square in Minsk about 2000 people (according to Charter97) gathered for a rally on the traditional Day of Belarusian Solidarity, the 16th of every month. Many prominent oppositional, i.e. the presidential candidates Sannikov and Nyaklyaeu, took part and demanded fair elections. Especially they urged citizens to join them on the mass event planned on Kastrychnitskaya Square on December 19th and to go on strike in case the elections are held to be rigged.
- The internet blog on the forthcoming elections in Belarus, supported by the German Konrad-Adenauer-Foundation issued an interesting article on the coverage of the Belarusian elections in German media. The results are various: there is hardly any interest in the topic and if media broadcasts the issues are often flawed or merely longing for sensation. Good investigative coverage remains hard to. You can find the article here (in German): http://belaruswahl2010.wordpress.com/2010/12/16/wahl-in-belarus-spielt-in-den-deutschen-medien-keine-rolle/.
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