Human Rights Defenders for Free Elections

Праваабарончы цэнтр «Вясна» беларускі хельсінкскі камітэт

MEPs "deeply worried" by nationwide crackdown ahead of Belarus's presidential election

“As the date of the Presidential election in Belarus – 9 August – is coming near, the campaign season has seemingly started off with a nationwide crackdown on peaceful protesters and civil society activists," says a joint statement by members of the European Parliament Robert Biedroń, chair of the delegation for relations with Belarus, and Petras Auštrevičius, EP's standing rapporteur on Belarus.

The MEPs are "deeply worried by the persistent discriminatory approach to the composition of the territorial election commissions, as the number of opposition parties’ nominees admitted to
these commissions has significantly dropped compared to previous elections."

They are also "disquieted" by the Central Election Commission’s decision to reject, on technical grounds, the registrations filled by some prominent opposition figures.

"As this year’s electoral process will take place in a very peculiar context, with the attention of the international community still grabbed by the Covid-19 pandemic, we call on the Belarusian authorities to create at last the conditions for a real level-playing field between the candidates, and to address the long-standing recommendations made by the Venice Commission and OSCE/ODIHR, including those related to the blatantly unbalanced composition of territorial election commissions, administrative chicaneries during the candidacy registration process and the lack of transparency during the counting process," reads the statement.

Robert Biedroń and Petras Auštrevičius urge the responsible authorities to "ensure a safe environment for the Presidential election by providing protective personal equipment for election personnel, adjusting the voting facilities to guarantee health and safety of participating citizens and ensuring undisturbed work of the election observers.”