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Yermoshina: Transparent ballot boxes are allowed

MINSK, 3 February (BelTA) – There is no ban on using transparent ballot boxes, Chairperson of the Central Election Commission (CEC) of Belarus Lidia Yermoshina said in an exclusive interview to the Belaruskaya Dumka magazine.

When asked why the absence of transparent ballot boxes at polling stations is often used to challenge the voting results, Lidia Yermoshina said that the problem is far-fetched.

“The problem of transparent ballot boxes is far-fetched. It is manipulated by those who do not agree with the results of the voting. I am more than sure that one cannot link the validity of the results to the presence or absence of transparent ballot boxes. Although Russia used such boxes and data scanning devices for ballot papers at 10% of polling stations, some political figures are still unhappy about the results of the recent parliamentary election to the State Duma. In this case everything is simple and clear – if the voting results are not to the liking of some political actors or their influential western investors, the assessment of the electoral process will still be negative regardless of the availability of this equipment at polling stations,” Lidia Yermoshina said.

“For some reason, many believe that the use of transparent plastic ballot boxes will save them from a voting failure. In some countries, nobody pays attention to it. Let us take Poland for example. The elections in this country are regularly covered by TV and personally I have never seen plastic ballot boxes in the videos. Before the EU imposed sanctions I had travelled abroad to monitor elections. I did not see much equipment like that in western countries,” the CEC Chairperson said.

Lidia Yermoshina noted that there is no ban on using transparent ballot boxes in Belarus. “We (the Central Election Commission – BelTA’s note) give money to equip polling stations, while local authorities are responsible for the purchase of ballot boxes. Therefore, if they can find money for this purpose from the budget or their sponsors help them, nobody will mind that. By the way, these transparent ballot boxes are being purchased gradually. These ballot boxes were purchased for some polling stations during the election to local councils and presidential election. They were used at some polling stations in Minsk, Maryina Gorka, in the entire Stolin District of Brest Oblast and some other regions. I think they will be used at more polling stations during the forthcoming parliamentary election,” Lidia Yermoshina said.