(Report) Continuing our series of election reports in conjunction with Electoral Studies, the following post-election report on last month’s Belarusian parliamentary election is presented by Dr. Matthew Frear of the Centre for Russian and East European Studies at the University of Birmingham, UK.
Parliamentary elections held on 23 September 2012 followed a familiar pattern. All deputies, elected through first-past-the-post, single-mandate constituencies, loyally support the Belarusian authorities. Based on official results no opposition candidates were elected, and the opposition itself was divided over tactics. International observers from the OSCE/ODIHR* criticised the election for its limited competition and lack of transparency.
These were the first national elections to be held since President Alexander Lukashenko’s own disputed re-election in December 2010 and the subsequent crackdown against opposition forces. While there was solidarity over political prisoners, attempts by the opposition to agree a joint plan of action in 2012 floundered. A ‘Coalition of the Six’, made up of the Belarusian Left Party (BLP) ‘Fair World’, the civic initiatives Tell the Truth and Movement ‘For Freedom’, the United Civic Party (UCP), the Belarusian Popular Front (BPF) and the unregistered party Belarusian Christian Democracy (BCD), quickly descended into figurative and literal infighting.
The authorities registered more opposition candidates than in 2008, in part due to a simplification of the electoral code. Around 130 individual and party candidates successfully registered. Many others were still denied registration, usually for trivial reasons. Opposition forces were divided on what to do next […]
Read the full blog post at The Monkey Cage