CEC limits number of observers at polling stations

Central Election Commission (CEC) meeting, 22 July 2020 / Screenshot from broadcast​
Central Election Commission (CEC) meeting, 22 July 2020 / Screenshot from broadcast​

The Central Election Commission (CEC) of Belarus has limited the number of observers at polling stations. On early voting days, there may be no more than three of them, and on August 9 -  no more than five (and no more than 50% of the commission members), according to the recommendation by CEC Chairperson Lidzia Yarmoshyna, who complained about the "epidemiological situation." "I understand that it will be an unpopular decision, but I propose to reduce the number of observers for the period of this election campaign," she said at a meeting on Monday.

If there are a lot of observers at the polling station, the members of precinct commissions "do not feel protected either physically or morally," said the CEC chair. She urged members of election commissions not to use social media during the voting.

The CEC members supported Yarmoshyna.

According to Lidziya Yarmoshyna, the chair of the commission will make "a selection by date of submission of accreditation documents" and determine the number of observers. But a significant number of applications have already been filed by representatives of pro-governmental organizations (i.e. Belaya Rus).

Alternative candidates like Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya have called on Belarusians to actively participate in election observation. It was assumed that there would be a lot of observers. However, the CEC has promptly limited their number.

There will be no observers from the OSCE ODIHR or the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe at the upcoming presidential elections in Belarus.