2013 Mission to Czech Republic (Presidential Elections)

The group of short-term international observers, accredited under non-governmental organization Belarus Watch, presented preliminary results of the monitoring of the presidential elections in the Czech Republic on Jan. 11–12, 2013. Observers visited 182 polling stations across the country, noted the high level of election’s organization and transparent and effective vote counting system.

The mission highlights high level of organization of the voting procedures, professionalism and preparedness of the members of the election commissions. Generally, Belarusian observers were welcomed by the members of the electoral commissions. Despite the indeterminacy of the observers’ status in Czech legislation, almost all participants of the project got access to the polling stations and all information they requested.

High culture of the Czech voters, who in most cases have followed all the rules of the electoral law, is also worth mentioning. The requirement of the identification of each voter was observed: only those who had necessary documents were allowed to vote. Voting procedure using envelopes should be highly evaluated. This system, according to the mission, provides the best possibility to ensure the secrecy of voting.

The counting of votes was quick and efficient, which indicates a high level of reliability of the electoral procedures.

Observation mission noted a number of shortcomings, which, however, did not affect the results of the elections. The ballot boxes sealing varied from one polling station to another. At some polling stations there were locks on the ballot boxes, while at others they were missing. Sometimes ballot boxes were only sealed, and there were no signatures of the members of the commission on that seal. In some cases, there were some unsealed ballot boxes, which, according to the members of electoral commissions, were unused, but could have been enabled later. The mission considers the process of ballot boxes sealing should be specified in the legislation.

In some cases polling stations appeared to be overcrowded, what leaded to queues both at the station and outside it. Some cases of open voting were noted: voters were putting ballots in voting envelopes outside the booths, which contradicts the requirement of the legislation. Generally, members of the commissions did not prevent such actions.

The polling stations were only rarely equipped for disabled people. Many of the stations were located not on the ground floor which made it hard for the elderly to access it.

The mission of the election observation was comprised of 35 people — representatives of Belarusian NGOs and European Humanities University. The mission was organized within the project «Election Observation: Theory and Practice» by Belarus Watch organization, in partnership with European Humanities University and Human Rights House in Vilnius. Previously the project’s participants observed elections both in Belarus, and other European countries.

Post-Election Report. Election Observation Mission, Czech Republic, Presidential Elections

Thee things which suprized Belarusian observers in Czech Republic (In Belarusian)