Vote Counting and Election Assessment by Observers - Belarus Presidential Election Digest
The main voting day, as well as the early voting period, was observed by local independent observer groups Right to Choose-2015 (R2C), Human Rights Defenders for Free and Fair Elections (HRD), and the youth initiative Election Observation Theory and Practice (EOTP). R2C deployed observers at 672 polling stations during the early vote period, and monitored 642 polling stations during election day.
HRD conducted observations at 400 polling stations during the early voting and election day period. Journalists and citizens also monitored and reported their observations on social networks, via the mobile phone observation app Vochy and the Ushahidi based crowdsourcing observation site Electby.org.
The HRD and R2C election observation missions challenged the validity of the election results. They described the election as ‘non-transparent, not free and non-democratic’, citing evidence of both turnout and vote count manipulations. Over the course of early voting and election day, R2C observers filed 900 complaints and reported 1,573 incidents, many of them available for review on the crowdsourcing platform Electby.org. Amongst the most pressing election day problems noted by R2C and HRD observers was a lack of transparency and verifiability of the vote count process and final results.
In a joint statement the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (OSCE/ODIHR), the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly (OSCE PA) and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) stated that problems with the vote counting and tabulation “undermined the integrity of the election.”
The Central Election Commission (CEC) of Belarus announced the official presidential election results: Alexander Lukashenko - 83.47 percent, Tatsiana Karatkevich - 4.44, Sergey Gaidukevich - 3.30, Nikolay Ulakhovich - 1.67, and Against All - 6.32 percent. Turnout announced by the authorities was 87.22 percent, of which 36.05 percent were attributed to the early vote period.
Tatsiana Karatkevich’s team announced she and her team would “fight for their votes” and appealed the election results to the CEC using R2C and HRD findings as evidence. Karatkevich claimed her campaign received between 20 and 35 percent of the vote. Karatkevich’s appeal was rejected by the CEC on 16 October. Karatkevich also announced her plans to continue building on her recent success. She and her team plan to organise a Nationwide Development Forum “For Peaceful Changes,” and began forming of a list of candidates for parliamentary elections.
United Civil Party Chair Anatoly Lebedko, former presidential candidates Nikolay Statkevich and Vladimir Neklyaev held a press conference in Minsk. They demanded non-recognition of the election results by the international community and announced the launch of the “Power to People” campaign, a new effort to fight for economic reforms, free elections and the preservation of the statehood and independence of Belarus.
The Russian side is grateful to Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko for his decision to go to Russia as the visit after the presidential election, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Russia to Belarus Alexander Surikov said in an interview with the STV channel, BelTA has learned.
“We are grateful for this decision,” the Ambassador said.