Presidential Pseudo-Elections in Belarus 2010

Michael Batiukov

"Master of the presidential elections in Belarus is the Chairman of the Local Election Commission."

Aleksander Lukashenko, 2006

"Only people of Belarus decide who is the next President."

Aleksander Lukashenko, 2010

There are four main ways of rigging the presidential elections in Belarus. All of them were used in presidential elections of 2001 and 2006.

The first way is called "Ballot-Box Stuffing". This way is commonly used during early voting. This year presidential early voting in Belarus takes the whole week from December 13th up to December 18th, 2010. For six days (and nights) any Chairman of the Local Election Commission?s helpers can stuff the boxes with as many ballots as they need. Probably, about 75% for Mr. Lukashenko. This is how many votes he wants to get this year, right?

How it may happen in practice you may ask? Easy! For example, in one ballot box is thrown 100 ballots with votes for 10 different candidates, and from the box poured 600 ballots with votes for only ONE candidate - the right one. Make a wild guess what is the name of the right candidate this year? It is no secret that ballot-boxes may have a false bottom. Belarus is widely used old-fashioned ballot-boxes with so many ways of unscrewing them and screwing votes. How Lukashenko can get 75% of votes without any magic tricks at his hands?

Moreover, according to some sources back in 2006 every Chairmen of the Local Election Commissions who provided the correct amount of votes for the correct candidate were rewarded with $3000 bonuses. Those who could not provide the correct amount of votes were fired later on.

The second way of stuffing boxes with the correct candidate ballots is happening outside of the polling stations. For example, when somebody got sick and cannot go to the stations, members of the Election Commissions can visit those people at home without being watched by observers. Nice chance for some votes adjustments.

But the most popular is the third way! Again this way is commonly used during early voting and it has a long name - "Stimulated early voting among citizen of certain categories - students, soldiers, workers of state enterprises." This type of the early voting is enforced in Belarus by the government. Students, soldiers, militia, doctors, patiens, workers are ENFORCED to vote only for ONE candidate - the right one - and report about their voting to the chain of command. That?s why MOST of the early voting numbers are unified in the direction of only one candidate - Lukashenko. If students disagree they can be kicked out of state dorms, if workers disagree they can lose their jobs. Voting against Lukashenko is PUNISHABLE in Belarus!

The fourth way of fraud is called "The Chairman?s Way". Remember how much money chairmen can get in exchange for the right results of voting? This way is the most sneaky one when the chairman of the local commission announce his figures in advance even without counting the ballots. How it works you may ask? Easy! Two identical sets of ballots are produced. Some of them are stored in a separate room of a Chairman. And the second set - the actual set - is stored in a completely different place ( or, maybe, just thrown away!). So even the right demand for a recount would not help! Because there is NOTHING to recount. Real ballots are disappearing in thin air. Just one more Lukashenko?s magic trick:

There is no surprise that this year voting in Belarus beats records of the year 2006 (now I hope you know why). The Central Elections Commission (CEC) ignores observers? complaints at ENFORCED early voting.

About 12% of the voters on electoral registers have taken part in early voting in Belarus during three days, Interfax-Zapad news agency learnt from CEC spokesman Nikolay Lozovik.

"11.7% of the voters, or 820,000 people, went to polls during three days of early voting," Lozovik said.

He specified that the turnout in the Brest region was 10%, in the Vitebsk region - over 15%, in Gomel region - 10.6%, in Grodno region - 13.7%, in Minsk region - 10.6%, in Mogilev region - 14.3%, in Minsk - 9%.

According to the CEC spokesman, "There were no significant complaints at the electoral process during the early voting. We have only a few complaints from internal observers. As a rule, these complaints are not based on legislative requirements. These complaints evoke from interpretation of the norms of the law in one?s own way and expecting the same interpretation from election commissions."

There is no doubt that the Chairmen of the Local Election Commissions know real well how to INTERPRETE the law to achieve 75% for a new (old) president. Hope those interpretations are not criminal ones.

So, the case is closed? Or, it will be re-opened on December 19th?

We?ll see.


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