House of Representatives of VIth convocation shouldn’t be seen as exponent of Belarusian people’s will
BPF Party National Board Statement of October 8, 2016
Elections of deputies of the House of Representatives of the National Assembly of the Republic of Belarus of the VIth convocation, which took place on September 11, 2016, were organized in accordance with the typical for Belarus scenario of all-out illegal manipulations. Preservation of fundamental shortcomings of the electoral legislation, numerous facts of persecution and pressure on the BPF Party candidates, as well as data, received from the BPF Party and public association BPF “Revival” observers (as well as information, received from few BPF Party representatives, who had been included into election commissions), about lower than the required 50% turnout and absence of open counting of votes at numerous polling stations in Minsk and other major cities are evidence of the following fact: the House of Representatives of the VIth convocation, like all its previous compositions, can’t be seen as the body, elected by people at free and fair elections, and as the exponent of Belarusians’ political will.
All changes or “cosmetic improvements”, some international observers are talking about, are not of fundamental importance and lie solely within rhetoric, they have nothing in common with true reforms of electoral procedures. The BPF Party fully agrees with the assessment of elections as not free and unfair, made by the interparty observation campaign “Right to Choose – 2016”, our party actively participated in. We call on the OSCE/ODIHR Election Observation Mission to provide appropriate assessment of the election campaign and not to close its eyes to the shortcomings in its final report. We also draw OSCE observers’ special attention to the increased pressure and repressions against ex-candidates and participants of the observation campaign right after the election day (including administrative fines), as well as to the fact that there are at least 3 recognized by the human rights defenders political prisoners behind bars today.
The fact that for the first time in many years 2 representatives of the independent of the regime public organizations have found themselves among the appointed deputies (Alena Anisim – deputy chairwoman of the Frantsishak Skaryna Belarusian Language Society, coordinator of the organizing committee of the Congress for Independence, and Hanna Kanapatskaya – the UCP representative) doesn’t change our assessment of these elections and this composition of the parliament as having nothing in common with the true expression of citizens’ will.
At the same time, we call on Alena Anisim and Hanna Kanapatskaya to fully use those modest opportunities, assured by the status of a deputy, in order to put vital for Belarus issues on the political agenda, such as:
- Necessity of a state policy on strengthening of Belarusian national identity, revival of Belarusian language and culture;
- Ensuring of true sovereignty of the country, which requires withdrawal from such unconstitutional structures as the Union State with Russia, suspension of our country’s participation in dangerous for our independence structures of the Eurasian Economic Union and the Collective Security Treaty Organization, as well as removal of Russian military facilities from Belarus (the issue of possible extension of the lease falls exactly on the tenure of this composition of the House of Representatives);
- Taking of immediate measures to safeguard security and health of Belarusian population, including introduction of control on the border between Russia and Belarus in order to stop flows of drugs, weapons and crime, which today freely enter our country from the East;
- Liberation of Belarusians’ private initiative, true measures to support small and medium businesses, guarantees of inviolability of private property, creation of competitive environment in the country.
We also expect that the proposals on democratization of electoral legislation, worked out by the interparty observation campaign “Right to Choose” in the form of a draft law, will become the basis for the activity of the representatives of the democratic community in the parliament. We declare our support of any legislative initiative, which will be aimed at true reformation of electoral legislation in Belarus.
We are concerned about the changes in rhetoric of some European politicians, when they speak about the change of attitude towards the House of Representatives. Networking between Belarus and the West shouldn’t bring European values of democracy and principles of human rights into question.
On the basis of the above-mentioned facts, we state that in time of these parliamentary elections official Minsk has done nothing, which could be considered the ground for the recognition of these elections as democratic. Taking into account the above-stated, the seat of the Belarusian Parliament in the Euronest Parliamentary Assembly should remain vacant.
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