"Human Rights Defenders for Free Elections" have conducted the monitoring and analysis of the formation of territorial election commissions for the presidential elections, the results of which have been used to prepare a report.
Territorial election commissions (hereinafter – TECs) are one of the basic mechanisms of the electoral process, which significantly affects the holding of free and democratic elections.
In accordance with the electoral law, the formation of TECs is fully within the competence of the local executive and administrative bodies, which are part of the executive power branch.
Existing legislation providing for certain guarantees in the formation of TECs, in particular, the requirement of representation of not less than one third of the members of the commission from among the members of public associations and political parties, in practice does not secure political pluralism of election commissions.
Absence of statutory criteria for candidates to the commissions allows selective approach to their formation, as in most cases preference is given to representatives of political parties and organizations that support the incumbent. Absence of such criteria makes it meaningless to appeal against decisions to deny membership on election commissions.
A small number of representatives of political parties on TECs reflects the specifics of the Belarusian political model in which key political actors in the election campaigns are the representatives of pro-government associations and labor collectives.
Opposition political parties nominated 63 representatives to the TECs, of which only 10 were included in the commissions, which represents 15.8% of the total number of nominated candidates and 0.5% of the entire TEC members.
Most members of TECs, as well as during previous election campaigns, are nominees from labor collectives (11.3%), citizens (33.4%) and NGOs (47.5%). At the same time, 81% of the selected representatives of public associations in TECs represent five major pro-governmental public organizations (the Belarusian National Youth Union, “Belaya Rus”, the Federation of Trade Unions of Belarus, the Union of Women, and the Belarusian Public Association of Veterans). Members of these organizations make up 38.8% of the TEC members.
In general, observers of the campaign "Human Rights Defenders for Free Elections" had the opportunity to attend the meetings of the bodies that formed TECs, with only 20% of observers having been denied the opportunity.
Most of the meetings lasted a short time, without any discussion of nominated candidates, voting was arranged for the entire list of candidates. Justification for the decision on the inclusion or non-inclusion of applicants in the committees was only posted on the websites of some regional executive committees and are virtually absent from the websites of district and city executive committees.
See below full text of the Report on monitoring the formation of territorial election commissions.