Electoral fraud in Belarus

Los Angeles Times CD News - 30.09.2008. Elections watchdog, the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), has declared that the elections that took place in Belarus on Monday fell short of European standards and were fraud. Often cited as the last dictatorship of Europe, Belarus has come under fire in 2006 for rigging the elections and widespread fraud. Alexander Lukaschenko was banned from traveling to USA and EU countries after being accused of manipulating the elections in his favour in 2006.

"If the election goes smoothly, the West will recognize Belarus," said Lukashenko after voting on Sunday. Despite, Lukashenko's hopes of recognition, the Belarus elections fell short of OSCE's expectations. There were minor improvements though, in terms of the Lukashenko allowing for more opposition leaders this time round as well as more media time for them to express their views.

Sergei Kalyakin, the leader of the opposition Communist Party, criticized the process of advance voting, which began on September 23, saying it gave the government an opportunity to cheat because ballot boxes were not monitored as closely as on election day. Monitors were not allowed in 35 percent of the cases and many falsifications were observed by the OSCE. Out of all the polling stations visited, 48% were identified by OSCE as 'bad' or 'very bad'.

Protestors spilled onto the streets of Minsk, declaring the desire for democratic elections and to oust Lukashenko. No public protest has been allowed before in the Lukashenko regime without police intervention, so this public display was considered a step towards freedom of speech in the current system. Protesters carried banners declaring, "No to Farce," "Dictatorship Should Go to the Dustbin of History," and "No to Russian Military Bases".

Despite Lukashenko claiming that elections were fair and he has made improvements to his electoral system, the fact that no opposition leaders were elected goes to show that perhaps the elections were really not as fair as he claims they were.



Partners: Social Network