Supreme Court of the Republic of Belarus
220020, Minsk, st. Orlovskaya, 76
Central Commission of the Republic of Belarus on Elections and Holding Republican Referenda
220010, Minsk, st. Sovetskaya, 11
Candidate for President of the Republic of Belarus
Tikhanovskaya Svetlana Georgievna
The Presidential elections of the Republic of Belarus were held on August 9, 2020.
Due to violations of the law, elections in the Republic of Belarus as a whole must be declared invalid based on Article 79 of the Electoral code of the Republic of Belarus (hereinafter – EC RB). After the elections are declared invalid, the violated rights of citizens, including those nominated as presidential candidates, must be restored, and new elections must be called based on Article 81 of the Constitution of the Republic of Belarus.
The applicant signed and August 10th, 2020 filed with the Central Commission of the Republic of Belarus on Elections and Holding Republican Referenda (hereinafter – Central Commission) within three days from the date of the elections, a complaint for invalidation (hereinafter – the Complaint to Central Commission).
On August 14th, 2020, Central Commission took a decision to refuse to satisfy the submitted Complaint (hereinafter – the Decision of Central Commission).
According to Art. 79 of EC RB, the Decision of Central Commission can be appealed to the Supreme Court of the Republic of Belarus within 10 days. The applicant personally signs this complaint for filing with the Supreme Court of the Republic of Belarus within the established period. The applicant is exempted from paying the state fee for considering the complaint in accordance with clause 1.8.1 of Art. 285 of the Tax Code of the Republic of Belarus.
The grounds for canceling the Decision of Central Commission to refuse to satisfy the Complaint to Central Commission are the same factual circumstances and arguments that confirm the need to recognize the elections of the President of the Republic of Belarus held on 09.08.2020 as invalid in the Republic of Belarus as a whole. The description of the violations and the legal basis of this Complaint are set out below and correspond to the arguments of the Complaint to Central Commission.
I. General qualification of violations committee during the election campaign
This Complaint provides general information about groups (categories) of homogeneous violations and a description of individual violations. The Complaint contains sufficient grounds for declaring the elections invalid, and can be corroborated as additional evidence and information becomes available.
According to Art. 79 of the EC RB, elections of the President of the Republic of Belarus as a whole in the Republic can be invalidated on two grounds:
1) due to violations committed during the elections;
2) due to violations during the counting of votes.
At the same time, it is necessary that these violations of the EC RB affect the results of the elections as a whole in the Republic, that is, the violations should be of a significant nature.
The violations listed in this Complaint are significant in nature, and represent a single set of violations related to a single goal – to influence the election results: by eliminating political competitors, suppressing the political activity of voters, creating conditions for forgery of documents, falsifications, and through deliberately incorrect vote count.
As a rule, each group of violations reflected in this Complaint contains hundreds or even thousands of violations of the same type, which testifies to the systematic nature of the abuses committed, the presence of common instructions for violators and the presence of a single goal. Systemic violations have a direct impact on the election result due to the scale effect.
Violations during the counting of votes
Violations leading to incorrect counting of votes can be as follows:
- deliberately incorrect counting of votes by members of the commissions;
- deliberately incorrect summation of data received from individual members, and the introduction of inaccurate data on voting results by the chairman (secretary) of the commission;
- keeping records of forged ballots and documents that are not ballots placed in voting boxes, including when replacing valid ballots filled in by voters, as well as when imitating voting by persons who are not voters of the given polling point;
- overestimation of the number of voters at a polling point by including persons who cannot vote in this polling point (foreign citizens, including those with a residence permit, deceased citizens, fictitious citizens);
- overestimation of the number of votes due to votes, allegedly cast by persons who knowingly did not vote at a given polling point (including those who are permanently abroad, absent due to illness, died, etc.);
- any other violations in which the number of registered ballots and the distribution of votes does not correspond to the real will of the observers.
Other violations of the law, entailing the invalidity of elections
Violations entailing the invalidity of the elections, specified in Art. 81 EC RB should include any violations that affect the outcome of the elections and contradict the norms and principles of the code.
According to Art. 2 EC RB, the legal basis of the electoral system, Referenda is the Constitution of the Republic of Belarus. According to article 38 of the Constitution, citizens of the Republic of Belarus have the right to freely elect and be elected to state bodies on the basis of universal, equal, direct or indirect suffrage by secret ballot. This constitutional norm developed, in particular, in Arts. 3, 5, 9 EC RB. In particular, it has been established, that the voter personally decides whether to participate in the elections, for whom to vote in the elections. Voting in elections is secret: control over the expression of the will of voters during voting is prohibited. These norms constitute the basic principles of the electoral system, and their purposeful and systematic violation in relation to a wide range of voters is an unconditional basis for invalidating the elections.
Herein, according to Art. 49 of the EC RB for violations of the Code also include, in particular, any actions that hinder the free exercise by a citizen of the Republic of Belarus of the right to freely elect and be elected are also classified as violations of the code; actions that hinder the work of the commissions for the election of the President of the Republic of Belarus, forgery of election documents, deliberately incorrect counting of votes or other distortion of voting results, violation of the secrecy of voting, failure to submit the necessary documents to the commissions, and others. Additional information on violations of the norms of the EC RB will be provided when describing the corresponding categories of violations (for example, during the presidential elections in 2020, such norms of electoral legislation as Articles 13, 20, 35-37, 45-49, 55, 61 , 68, 68-1, 70-1, 73, 74 ЕC RB).
II. Burden of proof and evidence of violations
According to Art. 49-1 ЕС RB, Art. 339 of the Civil Procedure Code of the Republic of Belarus, when considering complaints against actions of state bodies, organizations and officials, the legality and validity of such actions is checked. At the same time, state bodies, organizations and officials are required to submit materials that served as the basis for the corresponding actions (inaction).
Applicants have the right, but are not required to submit evidence and other materials.
Given the tight deadlines for preparing this Complaint, it is impossible to reflect information about all violations, especially since information continues to flow. At the same time, information about violations within the framework of the election campaign has been repeatedly published in the media, and many systemic violations have already become generaly-known.
Attached to this Complain are folders with documents available to the claimant confirming violations committed during the election campaign and counting of votes.
Additionally, we ask to consider as examples of systemic violations not only those violations that are directly named in this Complaint, but also those violations that at the time of consideration of this Complaint will be posted on the following online platforms:
|Online platform name and address||Number of alleged violations (at the time of preparation of the Complaint)|
|Platform ZUBR https://zubr.in/elections/messages||6532 unique posts from 1403 polling points containing 3988 photos, videos and audio recordings and 5955 text descriptions.|
|Platform Right to choose 2020||1634 violations|
|Platform WIKI-Claim, honest people||More then 1000 violations, not related to the voting period|
The final report of the platforms “Golos”, “Honest People” and “Zubr” – http://bit.ly/golos-final-report – reflects a lot of falsifications in the presidential elections. Also on the Golos platform, a map with falsifications has been published – there you can see the discrepancy between official and real data at specific polling points.
Thanks to the work of three platforms, it was possible to receive and process the final protocols from 1310 polling points out of 5767 throughout Belarus. These protocols cover 22.7% of all polling points and 32.2% of all voters in the country. It was not possible to obtain protocols for the remaining polling points. Basically, this is due to the fact that in many polling points the final protocols were not posted by commissions or were posted without signatures. All citizens’ appeals to provide protocols for review were left unanswered: it was announced that precinct, district and regional election commissions had stopped their work, and the Central Commission did not provide information on the results of voting at the polling point by the voter. In the opinion of the Central Commission, if a voter has not familiarized himself with the protocol at his polling point (even if such a protocol was not posted), there is no opportunity to familiarize himself with the protocol in any other way. At the same time, these available protocols are enough to draw conclusions about the falsification of the voting results. At the same time, I ask the Supreme Court to demand from the Central Commission data on the results of voting by polling point, and from district (city) executive committees and district administrations copies of protocols for considering this Complaint and establishing the voting results for each of the polling point so that the Claimant can submit additional explanations for those areas for which there is no data, and also verified the results with the data posted in the protocols. According to Art. 155-1 of the EC RB, the protocols of polling point commissions for the election of the President of the Republic of Belarus are stored in the bodies that formed the commissions for 5 years, and polling point commissions for the election of deputies, for Referenda, for voting on recalling a deputy are stored in the bodies that formed the commissions, in for 4 years, and then, as part of the funds of these bodies, are transferred for storage to the state archives.
The data from the final precinct protocols, which became publicly available, were verified with the final results of the Central Commission, as well as with photographs of real ballots from voters. In at least 30% of the indicated polling points, photographs of the ballots received from voters have confirmed falsifications, due to which the elections cannot be recognized as legal. There is not enough information in the “Golos” system regarding the rest of the polling points, however, the incorrect counting of votes at the polling poibts can be confirmed using other means of evidence.
After studying the received protocols, it is obvious that the official results underestimate the number of real votes for Svetlana Tikhanovskaya. On 1310 out of 5767 sites S.G. Tikhanovskaya officially received 81% of the votes of all, which was voiced in her favor by the CEC: 471,709 out of 588,619 votes.
It turns out that the remaining 77.3% of polling points, the protocols from which it was not possible to obtain, accounted for only 19.9% of the votes for Tikhanovskaya – 116,910. Such a bias is possible only if the results are falsified. In the areas where the protocols were published, for S.G. Tikhanovskaya received an average of 360 votes. And, at the polling points for which there is no public information, an average of 26 people were to vote. The difference between public and non-public protocols is 13 times.
The evidence of falsifications in Minsk is irrefutable. According to the official results of the CEC, in the capital for S.G. Tikhanovskaya voted 126,861 people in all 731 polling points. The platforms “Golos”, “Zubr” and “Honest People” have at their disposal protocols from 432 polling points in the capital. And, the sum of votes for S.G. Tikhanovskaya, reflected in them, already exceeds the final data from the CEC. This means that, in fact, for S.G. More people voted for Tikhanovskaya in Minsk than announced in the official results of the Minsk city election commission, taken into account by the Central Commission when making the overall result.
The situation is similar in the Minsk region. If we simply summarize the data according to the available protocols, then the remaining 74% of the polling points (which is 736 out of 993 polling points) have only 0.7% of votes for S.G. Tikhanovskaya – 751 votes from all 115 304.
The number of votes cast for Alexander Lukashenko declared by the Central Commission is also too high. Based on the published ballots, the distribution of votes between voters at the polling points where Lukashenko officially won (according to the Claimant, with an incorrect vote count), and at the polling points where Tikhanovskaya officially won (even at polling points with an overstated early voting turnout and possible counting of fake ballots ) looked like this:
Lukashenko won with a score of 66.6% (Tikhanovskaya won 20.4% at these polling points), and Tikhanovskaya won with a score of 57.6% (Lukashenka’s 31.3% at these polling points). In order for Lukashenko to receive 80.1% as a result, at the remaining 4457 polling points 2.97% of voters had to vote for Tikhanovskaya, and 88.85% for her main opponent. This distribution is fundamentally different from the distribution of votes in the polling points for which there are protocols. Which, in principle, is impossible if the votes were counted honestly.
Comparison of the final protocols with photographs of ballots from voters led to a sad conclusion: in 30% of polling points, the results were falsified.
More than 1.26 million Belarusians are registered on the Golos platform, of which 1,047,933 announced their choice (1,001,569 votes in the Golos system – 95.58% – for S.G. Tikhanovskaya), and as a result of the elections they sent more 550,000 photos of ballots that were automatically distributed to polling points and showed where the data of commissions and voters did not match. If there are more ballots for a candidate at a particular polling point than there are votes for him in the final PEC protocol, then we can talk about falsification at that precinct.
550,000 photos were sent by voters from all over Belarus and make up only 9.5% of the total number of citizens who took part in voting, according to the Central Commission. Nevertheless, the imposition of these data on the data of the protocols of 22.7% of the sites in Belarus made it possible to reveal falsifications. A map of sites with falsifications is published on the Golos platform – https://partizan-results.com/ – there are more than 400 of them (more than 30% of those sites that could be analyzed). It also shows the areas where falsifications were not found, and areas where there is not enough data to draw conclusions about the honesty of the work of election commissions.
A flash drive is attached to this Complaint as additional evidence as part of the violation documents. It contains summarized information about violations and complaints filed upon their detection, as well as relevant evidence. Part of the evidence from the flash drive is printed and attached in the form of copies of documents. We ask to reproduce during the court session audio and video recordings with the participation of members of election commissions, confirming the falsification of the results, call the members of the relevant commissions (including those commissions about falsifications in which the media reported on the basis of data received from members of the commissions) as witnesses during the examination this Complaint.
The folders “reports on violations” and “additional evidence” contain the relevant files (information) confirming the presence of numerous falsifications and other violations of electoral legislation. Persons indicated in the documents as the persons who provided evidence can be called as witnesses in relation to the violations revealed.
Also, the flash drive contains information in the form of copies of the protocols of polling points commissions and copies of citizens’ statements confirming the true number of persons who voted at the polling point for S.G. Tikhanovskaya. There are several dozen polling points whose voters made a decision to disclose the secrecy of voting and openly confirmed that they voted for S.G. Tikhanovskaya, and the number of signatures of such voters is several times higher than the number of votes indicated in the official protocols posted at the respective polling points. The most indicative is the number of signatures collected by voters on applications for the initiation of criminal cases on the fact of committing crimes under Art. 192 of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Belarus. By signing such statements and indicating that the signers gave their signatures for S.G. Tikhanovskaya, they refute the data indicated in the protocols of polling point commissions. If necessary, all these voters can be called to court as witnesses and additionally confirm the fact of voting for S.G. Tihanovskaya. and incorrect voting results at the respective polling points.
It should be noted that rejecting the complaint, the Central Commission referred to the absence of specific facts of violations. However, Dick P.A., a member of the Central Commission with consultative vote, at the meeting 14.08.2020 was invited to study the available evidence (some of them were available at the meeting in paper form, the rest in the email), why postpone the meeting on 18 August to investigate the entire array of evidence by members of the Commission. Both proposals were rejected. The evidence was not reviewed or evaluated. This way, and the Commission’s decision was made without a proper examination of the applicant’s evidence. Moreover, the chairmen of election commissions (Vitebsk region and the city of Minsk), in fact admitted violations of the electoral law in terms of ensuring access for all citizens to the results of voting in specific precincts, which, along with the available evidence of inconsistency of the protocols posted for viewing at the precincts and the protocols actually sent to the territorial commissions, confirms the fact of planned large-scale falsification. These persons may be interviewed as witnesses. We ask the Supreme court to request an audio recording and a transcript of the meeting of the Central Commission held on 14.08.2020 for additional confirmation of these data.
III. General data on categories and groups of violations
This section of the complaint specifies the categories and groups of violations that affected the elections results, including those aimed at reducing political activity, as well as providing opportunities for deliberately incorrect vote counting.
1. The political persecution
Political persecution was carried out by various means and methods: first of all, to eliminate political competitors and persecute their supporters, as well as to persecute any politically active citizens and infringe their right to vote and be elected.
The unjustified deprivation of individual citizens of the opportunity to be registered as candidates for the President of the Republic of Belarus, of course, affected the result of the elections, and is the basis for their invalidity.
1.1. Criminal prosecution for political reasons
The sending of orders to the investigative bodies concerning Alexander Lukashenko’s political rivals was repeatedly confirmed by his own statements (both in relation to Sergei Tikhanovsky, Viktor Babaryka, and Valery Tsepkalo). In such circumstances, potential presidential candidates of the Republic of Belarus, their supporters, as well as other politically active citizens, against whom criminal cases were initiated, were justifiably recognized as political prisoners.
1.1.1. Initiation of criminal cases against presidential candidates and their supporters, as well as political activists
Starting from the signature collection stage, potential presidential candidates S. Tikhanovsky and V. Babaryka, as well as coordinators and members of their initiative groups, could not participate fully in the election campaign, as they were charged and taken into custody.
V. Tsepkalo, and after the refusal to register him his wife, Veronika Tsepkalo, as well were repeatedly threatened with criminal proceedings.
1.1.2. Unlawful detention
Illegal detentions with the use of physical force were carried out against politically active citizens, including S.Tikhanovsky and V.Babaryka, as part of the criminal process.
1.1.3. Unlawful custody
Despite the absence of direct grounds, the presence of personal guarantees of citizens, and despite the active phase of the election campaign, almost all politically active citizens who are accused in criminal cases, including S.Tikhanovsky, V.Babaryka, continued to remain in custody. At the same time, all petitions submitted for the replacement of a preventive measure with another (for example, house arrest, surety – were rejected).
When submitting personal sureties for V.Babaryka, a number of citizens were detained directly in the KGB building, administrative reports were drawn up against some of the detainees for conducting an unauthorized mass event, and court orders were issued on administrative penalties (14-15 days).
1.1.4. Violation of the presumption of innocence
Despite the existence of the constitutional principle of presumption of innocence, numerous statements by senior officials, including Alexander Lukashenko, suggesting their guilt in committing criminal acts were made in relation To S.Tihanovsky and V. Babaryka before the court considered the charges, and often before they were presented, as well as materials were repeatedly published in the media, including mounted footage of investigative actions. At the same time, it should be noted that the lawyers of the accused, due to the selected subscription, could not comment on the statements made and released stories in any way.
1.1.5. Violation of the right to defense
For most of the accused, the right to defense was improperly exercised – in particular, despite the existence of a pre-concluded contract with V. Babaryka’s lawyers, the lawyers were not allowed to defend (and were not even allowed to enter the building), then obstacles were created for visiting the accused by lawyers.
2. Administrative cases for political reasons
The most frequent way to influence politically active citizens was to initiate administrative cases against them, or to apply the norms of administrative process in the absence of initiated cases.
2.1. Unlawful detentions
During pickets, peaceful demonstrations, and solidarity campaigns, including in exercising the right to file an application with government authorities (CEC, KGB), many citizens were detained without explanation. As a rule, the detention was carried out by people in civilian clothes, without presenting an official ID. With respect to some of the detainees no protocol on administrative offences had been drawn up and the reasons for their detention were never explained.
2.2. Unlawful use of physical force
During the detentions, and in some cases even when no detention was made, physical force was used against politically active citizens (punches, elbows, kicks, arm cracking, etc.) Often a protocol on an administrative offense was not drawn up, the reasons for the use of physical force were not justified.
3. Threats and use of negative measures at the place of work, study, etc.
There are documented cases when, after initiating an administrative process or after being detained, information about a citizen’s political activity was sent to take measures at their place of work or study. Political activity could be the reason for the dismissal, including the expiration of the contract, bonus payment, etc.
4. Violations at the stage of registration of initiative groups of candidates
The unjustified refusal to register initiative groups affected the election results as a whole.
4.1. Refusal to register initiative groups based on formal claims to documents
Immediately after the decision to nominate as a presidential candidate, but before the registration of initiative groups began, on May 6, 2020, S.Tikhanovsky was detained and sent to serve his sentence, which was imposed in January 2020. 2 days later, a decision was made to call the presidential election. Based on the established deadline, S.Tikhanovsky did not have time to submit documents for registration of the initiative group in person.
Documents for registration of Sergey Tikhanovsky’s initiative group were submitted on the basis of a notarized power of attorney. Despite this, the documents were not accepted, and the initiative group was not formally registered. Contrary to the will of S.Tikhanovsky, the Central Commission considered that it was impossible to submit documents on the basis of a power of attorney.
This violation had a significant impact on the elections results.
4.2. Refusal to register initiative groups after checking information about members of initiative groups
In respect of some initiative groups (including Nikolay Kudravets, Pyotr Karabanov, Tamara Potocka, Nikolay Salyanik, Vladimir nevmerzhitsky), the Central Commission conducted a non-statutory procedure for interviewing potential members of initiative groups and decided to refuse to register the groups.
The electoral code does not assume that a person can be a member of only one initiative group, does not provide for phone-calling members of initiative groups and any consequences if the answers to the caller’s questions are not clear enough.
4.3. The non-issuance of certificates of members of initiative groups
About 300 members of V. Babaryka’s initiative group received certificates and confirmation of the possibility of using these certificates almost at the end of the signature collection period.
5. Violations at the stage of nomination, collection and submission of signatures
5.1. Coercion and bribery of voters, use of administrative resources to collect signatures for presidential candidates
The least documented, yet most powerful category of violations is forcing citizens of the Republic of Belarus to commit actions aimed at the nomination and election of Alexander Lukashenko as President of Belarus.
The media provided information about various cases of forcing voters to sign for the nomination of Alexander Lukashenko, and about the facts of participation of voters in collecting signatures. However, this candidate was not brought to justice, registration as a candidate was not refused, registration was not canceled, which had an impact on the elections results.
5.2. The persecution of coordinators, the failure to replace the coordinators, the refusal to accept signatures
Coordinators of S.Tikhanovsky and V. Babaryka were detained by law enforcement agencies. The Central Commission did not allow the replacement of coordinators. Some of the signature lists were not submitted, because the Central Commission refused to accept signatures from anyone other than the coordinators (even taking into account that a potential presidential candidate V. Babaryka, the head of the initiative group E.Babariko and other coordinators in the KGB jail).
5.3. Delivery of unassembled signatures
For a number of candidates, significantly more signatures were counted than they submitted to the Central Commission, which may indicate forgery of signatures, and which had an impact on the elections results.
6. Violations in the nomination, election and work of members of election commissions
Precinct election commissions were formed allegedly randomly, but the study of available materials shows that the formation of commissions in this composition was covered by a single plan, and was aimed at creating conditions for the possibility of deliberately incorrect counting of votes in order to elect Alexander Lukashenko.
6.1. A violation of the procedures for the nomination of PEC members citizens (fake signatures and so on.)
At a number of voting stations, it was found that the documents on the nomination of those members who were included in the Commission were made by citizens with violations
1) The same 10 citizens nominated several (up to 4) representatives to the PEC
2) an unidentified person signed the nomination documents on behalf of citizens (forgery of documents).
Despite the identification and confirmation of these cases, the decision to form a PEC was not recognized as illegal, and applications sent by citizens for forging signatures from the police were sent for consideration to the same Commission. At the same time, those PEC members who were nominated using forged signatures were replaced by the same citizens, only using documents from other nominees (political parties and public associations).
6.2. Violation of procedures for the nomination of PEC members by parties, public associations (nomination of non-members, etc.)
In a number of precincts, representatives of political parties and public associations were nominated by persons who could not have been their members (for example, they did not meet the requirements of the Charter for age (BRSM), seniority (Union of veterans) , etc. At the same time, in no case were documents submitted confirming membership in the relevant party (public Association), but there was evidence that the same persons were nominated by other parties or public associations in the course of previous campaigns.
6.3. Violation of procedures for the nomination of PEC members by labor collectives (failure to hold meetings of labor collectives, etc.)
For a number of precincts, there is information that labor meetings with the presence of more than 50% of the members of the labor collective nominating PEC members were not held.
6.4. Violation of the voting procedure for candidates of members of election commissions
In most cases, voting on candidates for members of precinct commissions (PEC) was conducted without discussing personal qualities, without admitting candidates, while voting was held synchronously by all members of the Commission, according to a pre-agreed scenario (there are audio recordings confirming collusion).
As a result of “voting” for all precincts in the territory of the Republic of Belarus, a statistically impossible picture is obtained – from numerous organizations and citizens (up to 16 different sending organizations to one precinct), with all the variety of candidates, commissions consisting of members of the same labor collective, as a rule, who had previously participated in an election campaign, were invariably formed at all precincts.
Accidental coincidence is excluded – there was a collusion in the formation of precinct commissions to ensure the possibility of subsequent falsification of voting results. At the same time, independent observers, including those from the “Honest people” initiative, despite their high qualifications, were not able to join the PEC, and those units that managed to do so were later excluded from the PEC on far-fetched pretexts.
6.5. Violations by elected members of commissions
Many of the members of the Commission, including those at the district level, openly and publicly conducted agitation events in the interests of Alexander Lukashenko, including the relevant thematic public receptions of the NGO “Belaya Rus”. Information about such actions was posted on the Internet and in social networks. At the same time, despite submitting written statements reflecting the facts of violations, these individuals were not excluded from the commissions, contrary to the requirements of article 35 of the IC of the Republic of Belarus.
7. Violations against observers
Taking measures to prevent independent observers from entering polling points is another measure to suppress the political activity of citizens (creating conditions for political apathy), and is also intended to create conditions for distortion in the counting of votes in order to elect A.G. Lukashenko.
7.1. Violations when sending observers
When sending observers from organizations, parties, citizens, the same methods were used as when sending PEC members and the same violations were committed (lack of protocols of meetings, membership, lack of signatures of citizens, etc.).
7.2. Observer accreditation violations
In the period until July 24, 2020, independent observers could not pass accreditation at almost any polling point, because they were informed that there was no logbook. When registering in the logbook after July 24, 2020, they found that 5-15 other observers had been registered earlier (it is not clear how they submitted documents during the period when the PEC was not yet working and the logbook was absent).
7.3. Non-admission violations
Under the pretext of combating infectious diseases, the Central Commission adopted restrictions on the presence of observers in the polling point. At the same time, the rights of observers guaranteed by Art. 13 of EC RB, unreasonably could not be exercised. With an additional clarification, the CEC explained that observers get the opportunity to be present at the polling point in the order of accreditation, and a schedule is drawn up, and the absence of an observer according to the schedule does not give another observer the right to come to the polling point. As a result, observers carried out observation outside the polling points, and often, they were moved outside the boundaries of the building as a whole or even the territory (for example, behind the fence of a school).
7.4. Observers prosecution
Every day observers were detained on far-fetched pretexts, accused of committing administrative offenses (disorderly conduct, disobeying the demands of police officers), and imposed an administrative penalty in the form of arrest for up to 15 days.
7.5. Refusal to fix violations at the request of observers
In cases when the observer revealed violations of the electoral legislation, the members of the commission refused to correct the violations (for example, to delete a citizen of the Russian Federation from the voter list), and also refused to accept complaints from observers.
8. Violations at the stage of verification of signatures and registration of candidates
The nomination of candidates ended up with the signature verification stage, where hundreds of thousands of signatures were rejected.
8.1. The invalidation of signatures on the results of the Internal Affairs Bodies information
In a number of cases, signatures (for Babaryka V., Tsepkalo V.) were recognized as unreliable on the basis of letters from the Internal Affairs Bodies, allegedly on the basis of unreliable information about the first and last name. No explanation was given – perhaps the problems were caused by handwriting. It is noteworthy that, despite the written reply of the Central Commission recognized invalid signature in cases where the member of the initiative group indicated their data on the basis of the passport and the identity he had made a mistake (for example, instead of a patronymic “Alekseevich” in the card was written “Alekseevch”).
8.2. Invalidation of signatures based on the results of “expert examinations”
Most of the signatures were rejected on the basis of a letter from the Committee of forensic examinations, which indicated that the date and signature of the voter were executed with one hand. It is not clear how such verification could have been carried out in three days for tens of thousands of signatures and in the absence of free and experimental samples. The letters were never shown to the applicants, the right to appeal the results of verification of signatures was denied to both potential candidates and voters, and information about the signature was also denied to voters. At the same time, judicial protection was also denied.
8.3. The refusal to register candidates
The reason for the illegal refusal to register V. Tsepkalo was the recognition of invalid signatures, the complaint in the Supreme court was rejected, despite the application of thousands of confirmations of the validity of signatures from voters.
On 14.07.2020, V. Babaryka was denied registration on the basis of a letter from the KGC violating the presumption of innocence and containing irrelevant data. The letter was not shown to the candidate’s representatives. The complaint filed on the basis of a notarized power of attorney on 15.07.2020 was refused due to the fact that, according to the Supreme court, personal filing of the complaint is required. In reception of the complaint submitted personally by Babaryka V. 17.07.2020 it was refused on the grounds of missing the three-day period for filing a complaint, despite the presence of a petition for the restoration of the specified period.
The refusal to register V. Tsepkalo and V. Babaryka significantly changed the situation in the election campaign, and certainly affected the elections results.
9. Violations at the stage of pre-election campaigning
During the pre-election campaign, there was a systematic use of the official position of A. G. Lukashenko and the creation of obstacles to the campaigning of S. Tikhanovskaya.
9.1. Restriction of the right to pre-election campaigning, including in the agreed places and at the agreed time
The right to campaign was initially restricted, as a list of places where one can campaign (and nowhere else) was defined.
Since 03.08.2020, no candidate other than Alexander Lukashenko has been given the opportunity to speak publicly at a legal event, they were canceled on far-fetched pretexts: pipe break, repair work, etc. Starting from 06.08.2020, cultural events were improperly scheduled at all agitation sites in Minsk (despite the pre-submitted and received approval for holding political rallies). Thus, there was active opposition to the implementation of the candidate’s right to campaign. Moreover, since 03.08.2020, even voters have ceased to be given the opportunity to conduct campaigning in the premises (meetings of voters).
9.2. Use of administrative resources, failure to ensure equal rights of candidates during campaigning
During the campaign, Alexander Lukashenko, in violation of Article 73 EC of the Republic of Belarus, actively campaigned at various events and venues (implying a call to vote for or against certain candidates), while using his official position. Campaigning was published in the official media, other candidates were not able to post their materials or at least refute the charges under the same conditions. Sergei Tikhanovski attempts to obtain premises for a similar statement failed. In particular, with reference to Articles 73 and 74 EC of the Republic of Belarus, letters were sent to the National Assembly and military units where Alexander Lukashenko spoke.
9.3. Unacceptable materials in the mass media
The mass media (for example, the newspaper SB, Belarus today, author A. Mukovozchik) repeatedly published unacceptable materials, including those containing agitation, defamatory comparisons against S. Tikhanovskaya and her staff, aimed at inciting social discord and hostility. State TV and radio channels regularly published materials discrediting political opponents of Alexander Lukashenko.
10. Violations at the stage of early voting in relation to voters
The main violation in the course of early voting, in addition to the non-admission of observers, was the falsification of turnout. In some precincts, 10 times more voters were declared to have voted than according to independent observers. Also, the right to secret voting was not guaranteed at polling points (including on the day of the main vote) – conditions were created for controlling the actions of voters.
11. Violations in the voting day in relation to voters
The main violations on the day of the main vote were: non-admission of observers, including to the vote counting procedure, identification of persons who are registered as having voted, although they did not vote, as well as persons who, in principle, cannot be voters at the polling point (let alone vote at it). Also on sites run out of ballots, ended with a place in the ballot boxes, many voters did not cast a vote in connection with the long queues and the closure of sites (for example, abroad), the turnout in some areas according to the observers considerably exceeded 100%. These facts, among other things, confirm the violations committed at the stage of early voting.
We believe that the information provided in this complaint is sufficient to give a legal assessment of all violations and make a decision to declare the election invalid.
Based on the above, guided by Articles 79, 81, 70-1 of the EC of the Republic of Belarus
1. Cancel the decision of the Central Commission to refuse to satisfy the Complaint to the Central Commission.
2. Recognize the election of the President of the Republic of Belarus, held on August 9, 2020, as invalid in the Republic of Belarus as a whole.
- A copy of this complaint to the interested person.
- Documents confirming some of the violations.
___ August 2020 Tikhanovskaya S.G.