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15 November 2019, 17:29

SCO mission chief: It is an honor to monitor Belarus' elections

An archive photo
An archive photo

BREST, 15 November (BelTA) – It is a great honor and responsibility to monitor Belarus' parliamentary elections, Deputy Secretary General of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), head of the SCO observation mission at the Belarusian parliamentary elections Xie Xiaoyong said at the meeting at the Brest Oblast election commission on 15 November, BelTA has learned.

“We view Belarus as a very important partner of our organization. In this regard, monitoring the Belarusian parliamentary elections is a great honor and responsibility for us. We have received a very warm welcome here. All the conditions are in place for us to monitor the elections,” Xie Xiaoyong said.

Short-term observers of the SCO international observation mission started working in Minsk on 13 November. The mission includes 17 people who represent legislative, executive and electoral authorities of the SCO member states. Brest Oblast was the first Belarusian region where a group of seven mission members came. They are to visit polling stations in the oblast capital and other districts of the region.

It is the third time the SCO observation mission is taking part in election monitoring in Belarus. “All in all, our organization has sent 48 observation missions to various countries around the world. The mission deployed in Belarus is 49th. This is a very important avenue of cooperation, therefore we keep working to improve observation mechanisms taking into account the best international practices and our own expertise and knowledge,” the mission chief said.

“First of all, we pay attention to vulnerable population groups, people with special needs. We look whether polling stations are accessible for voters with disabilities. Accessibility and openness of elections are important for us. We also assess media coverage, including the use of information technology, the internet, mobile applications. The pace of technological changes in the 21st century is moving forward very fast. Young people actively use gadgets and this trend should not be disregarded,” executive secretary of the mission Daniyar Cherkeyev added.

Chairman of the Brest Oblast Election Commission Aleksandr Koleda updated the international observers on the recent developments related to the election campaign in the region. Sixty-six candidates stand for election in 16 constituencies of Brest Oblast. More than 17% of eligible voters have already cast their ballot during three days of early voting. “The electoral process is proceeding normally. Of course, some disputes and conflicts arise, however no incidences that can question the integrity and transparency of the elections have been reported,” he emphasized.

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