The final report by the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) on the 23 September 2012 parliamentary elections in Belarus concludes that many OSCE commitments were not met, and offers recommendations to bring the conduct of elections in line with fundamental principles for democratic elections.
The report notes that, despite some improvements to the electoral law, many OSCE commitments, including citizens’ rights to associate, to stand as candidates and to express themselves freely, were not respected.
The report recommends that electoral reform be undertaken well in advance of the next elections. It suggests that the authorities should formulate concrete and effective steps to address the recommendations identified by OSCE/ODIHR and adds that the process should be transparent and inclusive of all parts of society.
To enhance transparency and confidence in the election results, the report recommends that clear, open and transparent procedures for the counting of votes be established and strictly implemented, while preliminary and final results should be published with a complete breakdown of the vote by polling station.
The report adds that the role of the President in appointing senior officials to the Central Election Commission could be reconsidered so as to increase confidence in the body’s independence.
It also recommends that any restrictions on the voter and candidate rights of citizens in prison or pre-trial detention should be proportional and clearly outlined in law, and that the legal framework should be amended to ensure that all decisions by election commissions are subject to judicial appeal.