Belarus still has long way to go in honouring its commitment to hold democratic elections – PACE

The international observation mission has given their assessment of the 2015 presidential election in Belarus.

On 15 July 2015, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Councul of Europe received an invitation from the Belarus authorities to observe the presidential election. The multiparty delegation was composed of Reha Denemeç (Turkey, EC), head of the delegation, Jonas Gunnarsson (Sweden, SOC), Marieluise Beck (Germany, ALDE), Andrej Hunko (Germany, UEL) and Andrea Rigoni (Italy, ALDE), rapporteur on ‘The situation in Belarus’ of the Committee on Political Affairs and Democracy.

The report by Reha Denemeç was published on the PACE website some days ago.

“The presidential election of 11 October 2015 showed that Belarus still had a considerable way to go in honouring its commitment to hold democratic elections,” the ad hoc committee the Bureau of the Parliamentary Assembly concluded.

According to the report, On polling day voters were able to make their choice in a transparent manner in the presence of many domestic and international observers. However, an election is not limited to polling day, the delegates stress.

“The vote counting procedures and the rules governing the work of observers on polling day need to be considerably improved in order to enhance confidence in the electoral process,” the document reads.

“A significant number of senior officials campaigned for the incumbent president; a rally was organised by the Ministry of Defence, with the organisers calling on the families of military personnel and serving military personnel to vote for the incumbent president; State-financed public associations campaigned for the incumbent president. The Head of the Central Election Commission argued publicly for the incumbent,” Reha Denemeç said in the report.

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