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.
Matteo Mecacci, special co-ordinator and head of the short-term OSCE observer mission said that, ‘This election was not competitive from the start. A free election depends on people being free to speak, organise and run for office, and we didn’t see that in this campaign’. “While there was an increase in the number of candidates put forward by parties, prominent political figures who might have played a role in this contest remained imprisoned or were not eligible to register due to their criminal record” the international observers also commented.
Additionally, the observers indicated that while they assessed early voting and election day voting procedures positively, the process deteriorated considerably during the count. The reason- they were not given a meaningful opportunity to observe the count and evaluated the process negatively in a significant number of polling stations observed. The OSCE observers also made a remark in relation to the Central Election Commission (CEC) which, according to them, ‘did not administer the electoral process in a neutral and impartial manner in line with international standards’.