Human Rights Defenders for Free Elections

Праваабарончы цэнтр «Вясна» беларускі хельсінкскі камітэт

Report on the formation of territorial and district election commissions

Observation is carried out by activists of the Belarusian Helsinki Committee and the Human Rights Center “Viasna” in the framework of the campaign Human Rights Defenders For Free Elections


- amendments introduced to the Electoral Code in 2013 added a new level of election commissions during the parliamentary elections, which are known as territorial election commissions (TECs, regional and Minsk city territorial election commissions);

- TECs and DECs (district elections commissions) are an important mechanism of the electoral process, which significantly affects the holding of free and democratic elections;

- formation of TECs and DECs took place against the backdrop of widely announced new approaches to selection procedures: the possibility of observers (including international ones) to attend the meetings of bodies in charge of forming election commissions, discussing business and political qualities of the nominated candidates. In cases where the amount of nominees exceeds the stipulated quota, information on each nominee should be considered and a separate vote should be carried out;

- all the actors who nominated their representatives to TECs and DECs were able to submit the necessary documents to the authorities responsible for the formation of the commissions;

- the meetings of bodies in charge of forming election commissions applies new practices, in particular, references of nominated candidates were read out and the voting for each candidate was carried out separately, the candidates were sometimes invited for a preliminary interview;

- lack of clear selection criteria results in the selective approach in the formation of election commissions; the CEC’s Decree No. 18 has failed to contribute to greater political pluralism: just like during earlier elections, preference is given to representatives of pro-government political parties and public associations;

- the proportion of representatives of political parties on TECs and DECs remains low (24.2% and 13.6%, respectively) as compared to the representation of public associations (51% and 54.3%, respectively);

- the main administrators of the elections are representatives of the five largest pro-government associations — Belaya Rus, Belarusian Republican Youth Union, the Belarusian Women's Union, the Belarusian Public Association of Veterans, and the Belarusian Federation of Trade Unions. The total percentage of their representatives in the composition of TECs and DECs is 40% and 42.3%, respectively;

- the representation of opposition parties is still extremely low: 31.2% of the nominated amount in TECs and 19.4% — in DECs. The total percentage of their representation on TECs and DECs is insignificant (5.4% and 1.8%, respectively). During the parliamentary elections of 2012, the proportion of representatives of opposition parties in the composition of DECs was 3%, in the elections of 2008 — 2.2%;