The restrictions imposed by the CEC on the number of observers at polling stations during early voting made this electoral phase completely non-transparent for independent citizen observation. These restrictions were aimed at disrupting independent observation of this stage, rather than pursuing the declared medical safety measures in connection with the coronavirus pandemic.
Local human rights groups warn that the mobilisation of the military ahead of the August 9th elections could lead to further escalation of violence. FIDH and Viasna Human Rights Centre call on the Belarusian authorities to refrain from using violence against peaceful protesters and to ensure transparency throughout the electoral process.
The quotas of observers at polling stations introduced by CEC Resolution No. 115 made the election process completely inaccessible for independent observation and non-transparent to the public. This is a violation of one of the basic principles of democratic elections — the principle of publicity.
On 24 July, Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka publicly stated that he was prepared to use the Armed Forces to “restore order” and put down street protests and demonstrations. This remark was made in the context of an upcoming presidential election on 9 August, in which the incumbent will be seeking re-election for his sixth term. It follows weeks of mass protests against electoral violations across the country, all of them peaceful except those that were brutally dispersed by the authorities which resulted in isolated incidents of police-provoked violence.
Police in Belarus have arbitrarily arrested journalists, bloggers, and political activists ahead of the August 9, 2020 presidential election and pressed charges against two potential candidates, Human Rights Watch said today.