Following the early parliamentary elections in Belarus on 17 November 2019, the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) has published its final report. The report offers 32 recommendations to improve the conduct of elections and increase the transparency of and public confidence in the electoral process.
The November 17 parliamentary elections were a “lost opportunity,” as the vote failed to fully meet international standards, the EU said in a statement released through the office of Maja Kocijancic, Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/European Neighborhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations.
MINSK, 18 November 2019 – Fundamental freedoms were disregarded and the integrity of the election process was not adequately safeguarded in the early parliamentary elections in Belarus even as the number of registered candidates increased, international observers concluded in a preliminary statement published today.
Observation of the elections to the House of Representatives of the National Assembly of Belarus is carried out by the Belarusian Helsinki Committee and the Human Rights Center “Viasna” in the framework of the campaign “Human Rights Defenders for Free Elections”.
The parliamentary elections were once again marred by gross violations of both Belarusian legislation and international standards, representatives of “Human Rights Defenders for Free Elections”, a nation-wide election observation coalition, said at a press conference in Minsk.
Administrative resources were widely used to promote the pro-government candidates, while a number of non-affiliated and opposition candidates reported obstacles in concealing or providing false information about their campaigning activities, as well as censorship of their political advertising.
The nation-wide domestic non-partisan election observation campaign “Human Rights Defenders for Free Elections” will hold a press conference on the results of monitoring the elections of members of the House of Representatives of the National Assembly of the seventh convocation. The event will take place at 12 a.m., November 18 at Manastyrski Hotel in Minsk.
This year’s parliamentary elections have already been marred by multiple instances of arbitrary interpretation of electoral laws, Uladzimir Labkovich, coordinator of the campaign “Human Rights Defenders for Free Elections”, said in a comment on the case of candidate Uladzimir Zahryshau running in Babrujsk.
Registered candidates have been engaged in election campaigning, but the process is not always visible for the public; pro-government candidates mainly speak to the voters at meetings organized on the premises of businesses and state-owned institutions; administrative resources have been used for this purpose.
The nomination and registration of candidates were not marked by any significant differences as compared to the previous parliamentary elections, concludes an interim report by the nation-wide campaign “Human Rights Defenders for Free Elections”. The findings were presented today at a press conference in Minsk.