Aware of the possibility that the secret police were listening in, Belarussian dissident Anastasia Palazhanka whispered to the visitors: would they help her arrange her wedding to her fiancé, an imprisoned leader of the Young Front opposition? Palazhanka, a 21-year-old honored by Hillary Clinton last year with the prestigious International Women of Courage award, was conferring with observers from the Organization for Security and Co–operation in Europe (OSCE), who were on hand to monitor parliamentary elections in the former Soviet Republic. They’d dropped by the Soviet-era Hotel Yubileinaya in Minsk to listen to opposition members who -wanted to air concerns about the rule of President Alexander Lukashenko.
Articles about voting issues in the Republic of Belarus.
Sunday’s elections in Belarus might not meet international or western standards, but Russia gave its stamp of approval today. Voters made “a conscious choice” during the nationwide poll, Russia’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement, according to Voice of America. President Alexander Lukashenko’s ruling party swept the elections after opposition parties boycotted and suggested voters stay home. According to the Belarus Central Elections Commission, more than 74.3 percent of those eligible voted.
Enough residents voted in otherwise-boycotted Parliamentary elections in Belarus to make the results valid, the country’s Central Election Commission has declared. The commission ruled Sunday that more than 50 percent of eligible voters cast ballots in the elections for all 110 seats in the Belarus National Assembly, the nation’s lower house of Parliament, RIA Novosti reported. The country’s two main opposition parties — the United Civic and BPF parties –boycotted the polls because of alleged fraud, urging voters to skip what they called “pseudo-elections” for the “rubber-stamp” lower house.
Elections to appoint the House of Representatives in Belarus took place on 23 September 2012. According to the preliminary conclusions of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and their Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) AND OSCE PA* international observers in the country, the elections were not administered in an impartial manner and the complaints and appeals process did not guarantee effective remedy. Furthermore, the preliminary report seems to indicate that the lack of neutrality and impartiality on the part of election commissions severely undermined public confidence in the process, while the lack of proper counting procedures or ways for observers to verify the results raised serious concerns.
Parliamentary elections in Belarus have ended without the country’s main opposition parties taking part, following calls for a boycott on grounds of irregularities and illegal detentions. Poll closed at 8pm local time (17:00 GMT) having opened 12 hours earlier. The news comes as the Central Election Commission declared the parliamentary vote valid with a turnout of at least 65.9 per cent, while independent monitors have suggested a far lower turnout at 30 per cent. The main opposition parties said official claims that turnout was 65.9 percent even before polls closed were wildly out of step with reality. ”The election commission is unscrupulously lying as these figures are so radically different from those of observers,” Vitaly Rymashevsky, co-chairman of the Belarus Christian Democracy party, told the AFP news agency.
A Belarussian parliamentary election on Sunday is likely to reinforce hardline President Alexander Lukashenko’s grip on the small former Soviet country despite a boycott call from the dispirited opposition. The two main opposition parties have urged people to go fishing and mushrooming rather than vote in what they see as a sham exercise to produce a chamber which largely rubber-stamps Lukashenko’s directives. But four days of early voting by students, armed service staff and police in the tightly-controlled country have already produced a 19 percent turnout, according to official figures, and there was no question of the boycott threatening the overall turnout threshold and the validity of Sunday’s ballot. The outcome will enable Lukashenko to present the election as a genuine democratic process. Western monitoring agencies have not judged an election in Belarus, ruled by Lukashenko for 18 years, free and fair since 1995.
Belarus has denied visas to two observers who planned to monitor Sunday’s parliamentary polls in the isolated country for the OSCE mission, Europe’s security and rights body said Wednesday. ”Two parliament members from Germany and Lithuania who planned to observe the elections were told they would be denied visas” by the Belarussian foreign ministry, the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly said. Visa denials to European lawmakers from international observer missions are extremely rare, and the last time Minsk barred foreign observers was in 2006, said spokesman for the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly Neil Simon. Simon named the two banned observers as Marieluise Beck from Germany and Emanuelis Zingeris from Lithuania.
Belarus: Foreign Ministry says denial of visas to OSCE election monitors not related to elections | Kyiv Post
Belarus’ decision to deny entry visas to two members of the OSCE election observation mission to monitor parliamentary elections slated in Belarus for Sept. 23 is not related to the elections as such, the Belarusian Foreign Ministry said. ”These two people are foreigners whose entry to the territory of the Republic of Belarus is unwelcome. This has absolutely no relation to the observation of the elections,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Andrei Savinykh told Interfax.
Belarus’s two main opposition parties said they would boycott a parliamentary election next Sunday, denouncing it as a fake exercise and are calling on people to “go fishing or visit your parents” instead. The poll for the 110-seat chamber takes place two years after police cracked down on street protests after a presidential election which installed hardline President Alexander Lukashenko for a fourth term in power. Scores of opposition activists were arrested in the December 2010 unrest and many people, including several candidates who stood against Lukashenko, were handed prison terms. ”Honest people cannot take part in pseudo-elections to a fake parliament,” Anatoly Lebedko, leader of the United Civic Party, said at a weekend rally at which the party announced it was withdrawing its 38 candidates from the election. ”I know I shall not be elected. And that is in no way because people will not vote for me,” said Grigoriy Kostusev, deputy head of the Belarussian People’s Front, which also opted to pull its 31 candidates out of the poll.
The Belarusian opposition is withdrawing its candidates from this weekend’s parliamentary election. The country’s election commission confirmed on Monday that the United Civic Party and the Belarusian National Front have removed the names of their candidates. The election is slated for Sunday but early voting starts on Tuesday, and people are allowed to vote early without giving any reason for it. Ballot boxes stand unguarded at polling stations for days, which observers have long described as an immense source for violations.