Accreditation of “Human Rights Defenders for Free Elections” observers and the start of early voting observation
Update as of 10 pm, August 4, 2020
Observation of the presidential election is carried out by the Belarusian Helsinki Committee and the Human Rights Center “Viasna” in the framework of the campaign “Human Rights Defenders for Free Elections”.
- as of August 3, 2020, according to the CEC, 48,642 observers were accredited across the country, including 47,650 at polling stations;
- 68% of accredited observers were nominated by public associations, most of which (86.4%) represent the six major pro-government public associations — BRSM, Belaya Rus, Women’s Union, Union of Veterans, FTUB trade unions, and the Belarusian Peace Foundation. 62% of the observers accredited with the PECs are members of these organizations, which have traditionally occupied the bulk of PEC seats;
- as of August 4, “Human Rights Defenders for Free Elections” nominated 618 observers to polling stations, 93% of whom were accredited by the PECs;
- the overwhelming majority of observers (94.5%) did not fall into the quota of observers determined in accordance with paragraph 16 of CEC Resolution No. 15 (as amended by CEC Resolution No. 115 of July 22, 2020), as they were accredited later than the first three (or five on the polling day) observers and were not admitted for observation;
- only 34 “Human Rights Defenders for Free Elections” observers (5.5% of the total number of accredited monitors) were included in PEC observation schedules for a certain period, not covering the entire voting and counting process, and only 2 — during the entire election period and the counting of the ballots;
- most of the observers admitted to the polling stations represent pro-government NGOs and were registered immediately after the formation of the PECs on June 24-25;
- 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. Apparently, the resolution, which limited the number of observers, was not aimed at preventing the spread of the pandemic, but was intended to undermine independent monitoring, as many PEC members and pro-government observers are not following the recommendations of the Ministry of Health.