Causing an autumn backlash
8:49, Iryna Khalip, Novaya Gazeta — Politics
The OSCE hasn’t recognized elections in Belarus for the fifth time but is ready to keep cooperating.
It started raining in Belarus on Sunday. Lukashenka and his Central Electoral Commissions chief Yarmoshyna claim that there were parliamentary elections though. But the people of Belarus and the rest of the world, with the exception of Russia may be, claim that there’s no parliament in Belarus. And the delegation of observers from the OSCE’s parliamentary Assembly announced on Monday that there were no elections.
It’s only unclear why the OSCE’s deputies came as elections observers as there were no a subject for observation. Although, the Europeans at least managed to leave peacefully, whereas some Belarsian observers were taken to police station right from the polling stations where they kept them till their very closure. No one was allowed to observe the counting and the observers who managed to happily come back home in the night of the elections were happily detained the next day. Two dozens of the participants of the Election Observation: Theory and Practice project were detained in Minsk’s center and taken to a police department. Together with them for some reason two plumbers were taken that were working in the building where the observes had their meeting. Though in a couple of hours everyone was released with their fingerprints taken.
While the innocent plumbers were shaking in the police vans, the head of the short-term OSCE observation mission Mateo Mecacci was giving a press-conference: “The elections were uncompetitive from the start. Free elections depend on the possibility for people to speak freely, run for office freely, which we didn’t see during this campaign… We are still ready to work with Belarus on the necessary next steps which in in our mutual interest”. Mutual interest – is, apparently, the return of the OSCE office to Minsk. After the crackdown of the 19 December 2010 demonstration and the arrest of all the presidential candidates the Belarusian authorities simply threw the OSCE office from Minsk. And they are not going to bring it back. But the organization’s representative are coming back with a persistence one could envy to get a backlash another time and say the word that don’t change in years. All the same things were told by international observers four, eight, twelve and sixteen years ago.
The head of the OSCE’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights Antonio Miloshski said that “the absence of the neutrality of the electoral commissions undermines the public trust to this process”. It’s good that they brought the public up. Because as the opposition boycotted the elections then the public just couldn’t care less about them.
Iryna Khalip, Novaya Gazeta
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