2011 23/02

The 19 December presidential election in Belarus was marked by a lack of independence and impartiality of the election administration, an uneven playing field and a restrictive media environment, as well as a lack of transparency at key stages of the electoral process, concludes ODIHR’s final report published on 22 February.

Election night was marred by the detention of most presidential candidates and hundreds of citizens, among them journalists, human rights activists and other civil society representatives. The report reiterates that Belarus has a considerable way to go in meeting its OSCE commitments for democratic elections.

The recommendations included in the report touch on issues such as ensuring the independence and impartiality of the election administration, enhancing the transparency of the vote count and tabulation, and creating conditions for all electoral contestants to be able to compete with each other on an equal basis. Although significant improvements had been made in amending the election code before the election, the legal framework still contains serious shortcomings that need to be addressed.

The report also recommends ensuring that all election stakeholders be able to effectively exercise the right of assembly during elections, including any pre- and post-election activity. Consideration could be given to granting domestic and international observers the right to monitor all stages of the election process, as well as to publishing detailed result protocols immediately on the Internet. The mechanisms for election dispute resolution should be strengthened in order to provide complainants with effective and timely remedy.

The full text of the Report is available at the OSCE ODIHR official web-site.

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