MINSK, 12 February (BelTA) – Over 40 foreign observers have been accredited to monitor the elections to the local councils of Belarus, Chairperson of the Central Election Commission (CEC) Lidia Yermoshina said in an interview to ONT TV channel.
“Forty-two international observers have been accredited in our country, and this figure continues increasing. These are members of the diplomatic missions working in Belarus. These are mainly representatives of the embassies of the European states. Applications for accreditation have also been received from Venezuela, the Russian Federation, and the United States,” the CEC head said. The election commissions have also accredited 10,500 national observers. Observers from the opposition parties will make part of the central election commission.
Lidia Yermoshina also spoke about the differences between the current election campaign and the previous ones. In her words, the difference is mainly in the opportunities for the current candidates in conducting pre-election campaigning. “Our candidates had always limited themselves to meetings in labor collectives during this period. As a result, such meetings covered just a very small number of people. Today we can see active street campaigning. Our candidates began opening their accounts for funds and producing campaign materials. The election campaign has become more viable,” she stated.
Voters do not notice candidates much, and rarely come to meetings, the CEC head added. “Candidates take part in meetings and have their support groups. Not all candidates have support groups, however. Candidates can be represented by big public associations. Another thing is when a candidate has only a very narrow circle of supporters,” said Lidia Yermoshina.
She also stated that deputies of local councils in Belarus perform public duties for free. Therefore, no one should expect that “candidates will fight for a seat in the local council and actively conduct their election campaign”.
Local elections in Belarus are scheduled for 18 February. Early voting starts on 13 February.
International observers can choose polling stations for observation.More about Society