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Gallup/Baltic Surveys announces impossibility of independent and reliable exit polls under present conditions in Belarus
11:53, 20/03/2006

Independent and reliable exit polls would be impossible in Belarus, said Vilnius-based Baltijos Tyrimai (Baltic Surveys)/The Gallup Organization in a press statement. The group noted that owing to Belarusian authorities` measures, it had decided not to poll exiting voters in this presidential election in the country. Baltijos Tyrimai coordinated such polls during Belarus` parliamentary elections and referendum in 2004.

Director General Rasa Alisauskiene said that when the exit poll project was discussed a few months ago, it became clear that Belarus` security agencies were going to prevent any independent exit polls, harassing interviewers and coordinators, spreading slander about Baltijos Tyrimai/The Gallup Organization, and "trying to create an atmosphere of fear."

"Given the present situation in Belarus, it would be impossible to conduct an independent and reliable poll of voters, which would be free of pressure from authorities," Ms. Alisauskiene said. She noted that two Belarusian government-controlled pollsters, EcooM and the Belarusian Committee of Youth Organizations, announced the results of their exit polls before noon, although the polling stations closed at 8 p.m. "One of those pollsters says that it polled 6,638 voters at 2,800 polling stations, that is less than three voters per station," Ms. Alisauskiene said. This is evidence that those who had been officially allowed to poll exiting voters "did not have the slightest idea of how to conduct such polls," she added.

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