The OSCE / ODIHR Director has repeatedly told the Belarusian authorities about the need for a timely invitation.
The OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) will not change its decision to refuse to observe the election in Belarus, despite the invitation sent by the Belarusian Foreign Ministry on July 15, naviny.by reports.
“The Belarusian authorities announced the elections more than two months ago,” said Katya Andrush, spokeswoman for the OSCE / ODIHR, in a comment to BelaPAN. “They are well aware that the ODIHR needs a timely invitation to observe all stages of the election.”
Andrush stressed that, for example, such important stages as the formation of election commissions and the registration of candidates have already been completed. “These are specific areas where the ODIHR has made recommendations for improvements,” she said.
According to the organization’s representative, over the past month and a half, the OSCE / ODIHR Director Ingibjörg Sólrún Gísladóttir has repeatedly told the Belarusian authorities about the need for a timely invitation.
On July 15, the OSCE / ODIHR announced that it would not send an observation mission to the presidential election in Belarus.
On the same day, the press-center of the Foreign Ministry announced that it had sent invitations to international observers.
“To be honest, the ODIHR decision was a disappointing surprise for us. We sincerely hope that it will be revised, said Anatol Hlaz, spokesman for the department. “Indeed, today, exactly the day after the registration of candidates, in full accordance with earlier public statements, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs sent invitations to the elections to the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights of the OSCE, the Commonwealth of Independent States and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. These are our traditional election observation partners. We are not a step back from our assurances and commitments, including within the OSCE. ”
He emphasized that Belarus had never held elections without observation. “And this time, from the very beginning, we were determined to invite observers from the OSCE / ODIHR after the registration of candidates. This has been repeatedly discussed in public, this position has been communicated to our Western partners, as well as to the leadership of the bureau. We are completely transparent in this context, and all this can be double-checked, ” Hlaz said.
According to him, the situation with the spread of the coronavirus infection has made adjustments in many areas, including the ODIHR’s election observation practice.
“This is the first time this situation has developed. We carefully analyzed the experience of other participating countries in which elections took place in the recent months. In the current special circumstances, in most, if not all cases, the ODIHR has deployed special monitoring missions consisting of several experts,” said Hlaz.