Elections for local councils take place, observers report violations (photos)

As many as 5,325,922 people, or 77.27 percent of all registered voters, cast their ballots in Belarus’ March 18-23 local elections, the central election commission (CEC) reports.

According to the commission, the voter turnout was 82.29 percent in Vitsebsk region, 80.95 percent in Mahiliou region, 80.83 percent in Homel region, 80.74 percent in Minsk region, 80 percent in Brest region, 79.96 percent in Hrodna region, and 61.61 percent in the city of Minsk, news agency BelaPAN says.

As many as 2,231,870 people reportedly cast their ballots during the five-day early voting period, or 32.04 percent of the total number of eligible voters.

According to the central election commission, the early voting turnout was 79.1 and 79.2 percent in the 2010 and 2007 local elections, respectively.

There were over 100 violations in the course of the elections, electby.org reports. For example, independent observers were pressurized and prevented from monitoring vote counting, police officers were present at poll stations, some people cast votes instead of their relatives.

A massive number of activists of ‘Right of Choice’ were prevented from observing the counting of ballots on March 23, the election monitoring group says in a statement. Its observers were stripped of their accreditation and ejected from polling stations if they tried to defend their right to monitor the vote count, the statement says.

Dzianis Sadouski, an independent observer, made an attempt to find out the reason for his counterpart’s withdrawal from a voting place. After his promise to lodge a complaint against the commision’s member he was detained by police and taken to a police station. At the moment Mr Sadouski is being kept in the predetention facility in Minsk.

It is noteworthy that a lot alcoholic beverages were sold in bars at voting stations.


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