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.
We once again call on the Belarusian authorities to ensure the full exercise of fundamental human rights and freedoms enshrined in the Constitution, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Copenhagen Document and other international human rights instruments.
The Supreme Court confirmed at yesterday’s hearing the July 14 decision by the Central Election Commission, which rejected the presidential nomination bid of Valery Tsapkala, one of Aliaksandr Lukashenka’s key rivals in the August 9 election.
Out of seven persons who were nominated as presidential candidates and submitted signatures collected for their nomination, five were registered as candidates. The registration process was marked by violations of the standards of fair elections.
Following an unprecedented crackdown on presidential nominees and members of their campaign teams, the authorities have opted to minimize the outreach of the upcoming campaigning phase of the presidential election set for August 9.
The absence of legal guarantees for equal representation in the election commissions of all political entities participating in the elections, as before, resulted in an arbitrary and discriminatory approach to opposition parties and movements.