Incumbent Alexander Lukashenko was in power since 1994 and is looking for a sixth term from the August 9 ballot.
The campaign was marked by a crackdown on opposition figures, sparking protests in addition to countless arrests, detentions, and penalties.
“Belarus declared the coming presidential elections over two weeks past,” OSCE spokeswoman Katya Andrusz informed Euronews.
“Along with the Belarusian authorities understand that ODIHR requires a timely invitation to earn a complete evaluation of the election procedure. The creation of election commissions and enrollment of candidates has been finished, and all these are particular areas ODIHR lately recognized as requiring improvement.”
ODIHR released a statement declaring its withdrawal in the monitoring mission on July 15 since it had not been officially invited. It was just then Minsk delivered an invitation, based on Andrusz.
It is the first-time ODIHR will not be tracking a Belarusian nationwide election since 2001.
Nabila Massrali, the EU spokeswoman for foreign affairs, is worried this scenario will have”serious negative consequences for its integrity and transparency of the election process” and added that”the random exclusion of applicants” undermines” the total integrity and democratic nature of the elections”.
Could ODHIR have delivered a more compact monitoring mission at short notice?
Katya Cloud, a former ODIHR member of monitoring missions to Belarus, said the organization generally sets up six or seven months before the election.
“From a purely operational perspective, it isn’t feasible for them to establish a suitable mission and an extensive monitoring” at this short notice, ” she informed Euronews.
“You want to locate a hotel, an office, purchase gear, locate local assistants, and who requires three weeks. Also, you will need to interview local men and women.”
Cloud participate in ODHIR assignments to Belarus through the 2006 and 2001 presidential elections, in addition to both the 2004 and 2000 parliamentary elections.
She explained it was hard to correctly observe what was occurring.
“You can not see much even in the polling station, you have to be five meters from the counting table,” she explained.
“You do not get to observe the ballots since they’re surrounded by a set of individuals and relied secretly on upon.
“If you’re too pushy the government of this polling station may call the authorities.”
Who’s overseeing the election procedure?
“CIS is quite biased rather than competitions the outcomes. They are wholly controlled by Moscow,” she explained.
“CIS come too late to have the ability to detect a purposeful selection procedure. They arrive just 3 months before the election, and they do not have as many individuals as OSCE, that may count on 300-500 individuals, such as observers, assistants, election analyst, and legal analyst, and they remain for approximately 200 days in the nation at which election occurs.”
There’s also a significant impact over how CIS and ODHIR amuse their observers.
“ODHIR recruits from several nationalities to stop biases, and they do it publicly, on their site, whereas CIS simply hires nationals from the former Soviet region and there’s not any transparency within the recruitment procedure, we do not understand where their analysts come from”
Other problems over election observation
Citing issues of COVID-19 dispersing during the election, the Belarusian government has decreased the number of local observers at each polling station, human rights firm Viasna informed Euronews.
That’s despite Belarus being among those few states in Europe to not execute strict confinement steps throughout the pandemic, even letting huge events like Belarus’ Freedom Day parade to proceed on May 9.
Viasna was one of the local teams to overlook getting authorization to track the election following the number of observers was decreased.
“We can not observe the counting procedure, the most significant part the campaign, it is completely contrary to the standard of democracy,” Viasna board member Valiantsin Stefanovic informed Euronews.
“CIS hasn’t criticized an election said everything was clear. We do not trust them. That is the reason why it was essential to own OSCE with us”
Cloud stated the organizations likely to be awarded the authorization to watch are state-sponsored ones such as the Federation of Trade Unions of Belarus andì that the Belarus Public Association of Veterans.
It had not reacted by the time of publication.