Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) today opened a mission to observe the presidential elections in Belarus, scheduled for December 19. On this occasion, the head of mission of the German diplomat Geert Ahrens held a press conference.
Ambassador Geert Ahrens for the third time headed the OSCE observer mission on the Belarusian elections. Previously, he worked in the presidential elections of 2006 and in the elections to the House of Representatives in 2008. Neither one nor the other campaign OSCE has not recognized neither free nor fair.
Its first meeting under the new mission in Belarus, Ambassador Ahrens spent this morning with Chairman of the Central Election Commission Lidiya Yarmoshyna. In particular, it was agreed at the weekly meeting of the representatives of the OSCE and the CEC, said Ahrens.
"At this meeting, I noted that we will pay special attention to how, in practice, will be implemented changes in the Belarusian electoral legislation. In the past there were two main points where we saw the problem. One of them — the possibility of direct observation of the counting of votes, and second to early voting. I expressed the hope that the two these issues there will be progress. "
Personal assessments of changes in the electoral law in Belarus today, Mr. Ahrens did not, and referred to their overall assessment of the ODIHR and the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe. The assessment was published in June. Experts believe that these structures, even after the amendments to the Electoral Code of the structure of the Belarusian legislation in this area can not be a basis for holding free and democratic elections.
According to Arens, in his plans for the next — a meeting with the candidates, the authorities, the media and non-governmental organizations.
Mr. Ahrens has refrained from estimates of how to Belarus wasand shaped by the electoral commission and how was the former campaign period — before his arrival in Minsk:
"Of course, we know that elections — This event is not a single day. All the information we have received from Belarus to prepare for the elections. But we usually rely on their own observations. We therefore will form their impression on this. Most likely, we will publish two interim reports. And I think that the first one will deal with the formation of election commissions. "
From now on, in Minsk are 14 experts of the OSCE mission, will arrive on Wednesday for another 40 long-term observers. They will represent the 18 OSCE member countries. The vast majority of long-term observers understand in Russian. They razedutstsa in all regions of Belarus. About 400 short-term observers of the OSCE mission will arrive ahead of the vote.
The preliminary report of the mission of the Belarusian elections according to international standards and obligations of Belarus within the framework of the OSCE will be published immediately after the election day, December 20, full — eight weeks. Mr. Ahrens also said that the core of the OSCE observer mission will stay in Belarus for more than a week after Election Day.