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Belarus parliament elections

5 Aug 2016

CIS mission suggests developing common election assessment approaches

CIS mission suggests developing common election assessment approaches

MINSK, 5 August (BelTA) – The CIS election observation mission suggested elaborating common election observation approaches to its counterparts from the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, head of the CIS mission to observe the parliamentary elections in Belarus Sergei Lebedev told media after he got familiar with the work of district election commissions in the Frunzensky and Pervomaisky Districts of Minsk on 5 August, BelTA has learned.

“We hope such approaches will be finally developed. I am talking about common approaches to assess the election process both in western countries and the CIS,” Sergei Lebedev stressed.

The head of the CIS election observation mission said that western counterparts are still trying to dictate their terms, criticizing the rules and criteria the CIS mission uses in the observation of elections. A number of western countries, representatives of which make part of the OSCE and PACE election observation missions, do not allow CIS observers to monitor their elections. “We would like the approaches and requirements they want us to meet to be fully applied in the election process in the West. We would also like to give evaluation of the elections that take place in western countries,” the head of the CIS mission said.

Sergei Lebedev stressed that CIS representatives are determined to cooperate with ODIHR counterparts through meetings and discussions during this year’s parliamentary campaign in Belarus. The corresponding agreements have already been reached.

So far, over 230 foreign observers have been accredited to monitor the Belarusian parliamentary elections scheduled for 11 September. These include 183 observers from the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), including eight from the CIS Inter-Parliamentary Assembly, and 51 observers from the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE/ODIHR).

According to Sergei Lebedev, the CIS election observation mission was deployed to Belarus more than a month ago. Its members have already visited every oblast of the country. The CIS mission includes 44 long-term observers representing almost every CIS member state. It also features CIS diplomats accredited in Belarus, representatives of the CIS Executive Committee and the Commonwealth of Independent States. The accreditation is still under way.

Sergei Lebedev stressed that preparations for the parliamentary elections are proceeding according to schedule and in line with the legislation of Belarus. The headquarters of the CIS observation mission and long-term observers keep in close touch with the Central Election Commission. Members of the mission attend meetings held at district executive committees, district administrations. “We believe that the district election commissions are made up of decent representatives who will be able to properly organize the electoral process and who will not allow any abuses, or distortions,” he said.

The head of the CIS election observation mission also pointed to a fairly high competition at this year’s elections, with 630 potential candidates running for 110 seats in the House of Representatives.

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