2019 parliamentary elections: Weekly report. November 4-9
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”.
- observers of the campaign “Human Rights Defenders for Free Elections” report the predominantly low-key character of the election campaign;
- according to the CEC chair Lidziya Yarmoshyna, as of November 6, there were a total of 523 registered candidates; 29 people withdrew their candidacies, 10 candidates had their registration revoked by the DECs, and two candidates were reinstated by higher commissions and courts. Only 330 of the registered candidates published their electoral programs in the mass media;
- there were ongoing cases of bans on broadcasting the campaign speeches of opposition candidates; the DECs and the public media have demonstrated an extremely loose treatment of restrictions on campaigning activities, as established by Art. 47 of the Electoral Code, which in most cases constitutes censorship and unacceptable restrictions on freedom of expression;
- several candidates had their registrations revoked by the DECs over alleged violations of Art. 47 of the Code; one candidate was detained by the police;
- administrative resources have been widely abused in the organization of campaign events involving the pro-government candidates;
- appeals against DECs’ decisions to cancel the registration to the higher TECs and the CEC, as well as to the courts, in most cases, were rejected;
- on November 8, Freedom Square in Minsk hosted a campaign rally announced by the Poland-based critical vlogger NEXTA. According to the observers, the meeting was attended by more than 500 people. The police officers did not allow the use of (and damaged) sound-amplifying equipment. During the event, a German TV crew was detained; the reporters were released 2.5 hours later;
- on November 7, the OSCE ODIHR international election observation mission published an interim report on the results of the observation.