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Four candidates in race for Belarus presidency

MINSK (BelTA) – The Central Election Commission (CEC) of Belarus registered four presidential candidates on 10 September, BelTA has learned.

Sergei Gaidukevich, Tatiana Korotkevich, Alexander Lukashenko and Nikolai Ulakhovich will proceed with the election campaign. The decision made by Belarus' CEC relies on the fact that the initiative groups of these candidates have managed to collect over 100,000 authentic candidates. Apart from that, the candidates have presented correct declarations of income and property (their own declarations and declarations of the adult family members that live together with them). Some declarations contained minor errors, yet they were accepted. The biographies of the candidates were correct.

Belarus' CEC denied registration as presidential candidates to Viktor Tereshchenko and Zhanna Romanovskaya. According to the source, the bulk of the signatures submitted by Viktor Tereshchenko's initiative groups to territorial election commissions were inauthentic. In particular, a lot of signatures with Minsk passport numbers were detected in Brest Oblast. In some cases the voter's residency was indicated incorrectly. In Gomel Oblast signatures were collected from people, who live outside the areas indicated in the signature lists. Inauthentic signatures were detected over there as well.

In Grodno Oblast some signatures were apparently signed by people, who had died already. In some cases people denied having signed to support the potential candidate. Some signature lists contained passport data from passports that have never been issued. In other words, no such passports exist. In Mogilev Oblast expert evaluation revealed signatures forged using color laser printers.

In Minsk many signatures collected in support of Viktor Tereshchenko have been discarded because the information in the signature lists contradicts the Interior Ministry database. Apart from that, signatures of dead people were collected in Minsk just like in Grodno Oblast. In Minsk and all over the country Viktor Tereshchenko's initiative groups submitted signature lists, which indicate that some members of the team had managed to collect such numbers of signatures, which are impossible to collect within 24 hours. These do not represent the complete list of shortcomings and violations detected during the examination of Viktor Tereshchenko's signature lists.

Zhanna Romanovskaya's initiative groups have not been able to collect and submit the required number of signatures. This is why the two potential candidates have been denied registration and access to the next stage of the presidential election campaign.

During the session on 10 September Belarus' CEC also approved the form and the number of ballot papers. The text on the ballot papers will be printed in Belarusian. The names of the candidates will be placed alphabetically. The checkbox “None of the above” will be placed below the four names. The ballot papers will be 207mm wide and 298mm high. As many as 7.285 million ballot papers will be printed, with 4.5% of the total printed as spare ballot papers.

The ballot papers intended for voting abroad will be printed by Belarusian diplomatic missions. Yet Belarus' CEC retains the right to provide ballot papers to the embassies in Lithuania and Latvia.

On 10 September Belarus' CEC also registered 30 authorized representatives and a financial representative of Alexander Lukashenko, 28 authorized representatives of Tatiana Korotkevich, and 28 authorized representatives of Sergei Gaidukevich. Sergei Gaidukevich now has a financial representative. Tatiana Korotkevich has not yet submitted the paperwork to register a financial representative of her own. All the teams can request the registration of more authorized representatives and financial representatives. Chairwoman of the Central Election Commission (CEC) of Belarus Lidia Yermoshina explained that a candidate may have 30 authorized representatives at most. The candidates are free to replace them.