INAM Center for Pluralism
October 22, 2004
Center for Pluralism Inam participated in observation of the parliamentary
elections and referendum on the amendments in the Constitution on October 17
in Byelorussia. International observation conducted on the mission of the Institute
for Democracy in Eastern Europe (IDEE) lasted from October 9 till October 21.
Politologists Hikmet Hajizadeh and Khagani Huseynli, lawyers Isakhan Ashurov
and Eldaniz Ahmadov, law deferder Shahla Ismailova observed October 17 elections
and referendum on behalf of the Center for Pluralism Inam. Final
communique, which was distributed on behalf of the mission (representatives
from Poland, Czech, Gazakhistan and Kirghizistan are included here) coordinated
by famous Czech journalist Petrushka Shustrova and consisting of 18 persons
clarifies numerous law violations observed in the elections and referendum.
Elections on majority system to Byelorussian parliament of 110 deputies and
the referendum on changing 81th article forbidding one persons election
as president more than twice does not meet international standards, this process
was observed with sharp violation of wide-national norms and byelorussian laws
which are not very perfect.
The observers insist on separate antidemocratic articles stating that Election
Code of the Republic of Byelorussia is far away from democratic standards. For
instance, Election Code does not foresee uniquely representation of election
participants in election commissions. The government solves itself the issue
on giving place to the representatives from opposition in the commissions. And
here representatives from opposition are put into irregular struggle condition,
wide manipulation is created for the power in the process of voters lists making,
bulletins counting and protocols preparation. Though election commissions let
in opposition representatives and independent observers into precincts, in the
process of voting and votes count they are placed in a such distance from where
it is impossible to observe neither ballot box nor the process occurring on
the tables of the commission members. Serious restrictions of pre-election agitation
opportunities by Election Code hadnt gone out of the filed of vision of
the observers. For instance, it is forbidden to spend an amount for agitation
campaign of the candidate besides 450 US dollars allocated from state budget.
Serious restrictions are put for distribution of these materials in squares
The observers also revealed other antidemocratic moments prevailing in propagation
of the election campaign. It was noted that main mass media of the country in
concentrated in states hand, independent media is shackled with different
administrative measures. In case when representatives from opposition could
get 5 minute air time not in rush hours only in television and radio canals,
representatives from power succeeded to agitate in separate informative and
analytical programs as much as they wished. As per calculations of Byelorussia
Journalists Associations, 75-77% of air time was occupied by the president Lukashenko.
Over 10 non-governmental press organs activity was stopped in election period.
Concerning elections it was stated that though October 17 was the election
day, in fact voting had begun since October 12. In conformity with legislation,
voters not having opportunity to vote on election day for some reasons get right
to vote early. According to observers conclusions early voting turned
into great falsification mechanism. Only 21% of the country population voted
on October 17. In military parts election process was completed on October 15-16.
Employees of state enterprises were put under pressure to vote for the amendments
in the Constitution allowing Lukashenko to be elected country head for an uncertain
period of time.
Mission representatives took observation in Minsk, Bobryusk, Brest, Mogilyov,
Molodechno, Borisov and Novopolotsk noted also election day law violations.
They met posters in election precincts propagating power representatives and
answering yes to the question in the referendum. In some precincts
ballot boxes were put on the tables of commission members, they were no polling
booths. It could be said that there were not any opposition observers in the
Observers also marked cases of dismissals of the candidates from opposition
from marathon on the occasion of various causes in election period. Candidates
from Byelorussian Popular Front Party Aleksey Yanukevich, Aleksey Mikhalevich
and more 20 opposition candidates were dismissed from election campaign without
Similar law violations took total character in votes count process.