It was the first time under the year of Lukashenka’s dictatorship when I have seen the things I didn’t hope to see: most members of the precinct election commission # 49 in Minsk, located opposite the presidential residence, showed their decency.
The majority if teachers and other slaves of the budget sphere lost all sense of shame and now rig election results or just don’t count the votes. But teachers at voting station #49 were polite to each other and observers; and the vote count procedure was open in full accordance with the law. I was the fifth registered observer, who represented democratic organizations. I didn’t even hope for democracy and openness, so I scared the teachers with prosecutors and other agencies for attempts to falsify the election.
But after the vote count procedure was over, even observers representing pro-presidential organizations BRSM and Belaya Rus applauded the commission members for their honesty, decency, and perfect organizing of the procedures of voting and vote counting. Well, let’s turn to the vote counting itself.
In accordance with the law, the ballots from the early voting ballot box were counted. At this stage, Lukashenka gained 77% of the votes, which made us upset. I’d like to notice that the commission prepared ten name tents for each candidate and tents “invalid ballots” and “against all”. In total, there were 12 tents. A ballot could be put in front of an appropriate tent. Every observer could stand behind the commission members and monitor the process. Then votes of those who voted at home were counted. Most of those votes were for Lukashenka, too. I thought it’s the results of Lukashenka’s years-long brainwashing that people are afraid of voting against him. But only 15% of 2000 voters took part in early voting and voting at home. Taking into account that 70% of people in this district are elderly people and pensioners, I thought the electorate, whose main principles are “stability” and “but we haven’t a war”, will vote for Lukashenka forever.
Our pessimism disappeared when it came to counting the votes of the election day. 70% of those who voted on the election day were pensioners living in Minsk center in old houses built under the rule of Stalin and Khrushchev. I won’t trouble you with figures, so I offer official results regarding to the main candidates (votes at early voting and voting at home also counted).
Lukashenka gained 484 votes, or 39.28% of all people voted.
Sannikov had 309 votes, or 25.08%.
Nyaklyaeu gathered 148 votes, or 12.01%.
Ramanchuk had 110 votes, or 8.93%.
So, over 46% of the voters voted for three main opponents of the dictator. Lukashenka lost elections in the precinct where most voters are elderly people and pensioners. These are official results. If people had not been forced to vote early (their suppressed will is proved by the above mentioned figures) Lukashenka would have failed to win even 30%. This inspires optimism and gives a hope for releasing from the dictatorship.
Pavel ZNAVETS, an observer representing democratic parties at polling station #49 in Minsk.