September 29, 2008
Central Europe had an important Austrian and a rather unimportant Belorussian parliamentary election yesterday. To call the process ‘elections’ in Belarus is somewhat premature: the opposition candidates did not win any seats in the national assembly.
After the Russian invasion to Georgia many predicted that Europe’s last old-fascioned dictator (leaving aside the breakaway Trandnistrian rulers) would make some concessions to make himself more acceptable to the democratic neighborhood. Mr Lukashenko’s government has released some political prisoners in the last months and sent out some flyers to the rest of the world to reduce his dependancy on Russia. But in the ‘elections’ he did not make the slightes concession to the democratic opposition.
What happened at last is only somewhat better from the Communist elections. Back in those days participating in the elections with a single choice was compulsory so that nobody could claim later that they did not support the regime. The election on 28 September 2008 was voluntary, but did not leave the voters with a choice. I found the most telling statistics in the coverage of Wall Street Journal: “The opposition said its members made up less than 1% of the country’s 100,000 vote counters. People were allowed to cast their votes for five days in advance of Sunday’s election, compounding fears of fraud”.
Updates: The Belarusian Telegraph Agency proudly reports that the Russian-dominated CIS Mission found ‘The parliamentary elections in Belarus were held at a well-organized level and in line with the national legislation as well as the international electoral law’. Russian politicians claim that the 110-0 victory is an evidence of the wisdom and happyness of the people of Belarus. What is striking here how Russia and its allies (or dependents) are backing the regime of their ally, Mr. Lukashenko. Time-to-time Russian and Belarus distance themselves from each other, but it looks that they are both happy.Author : Dániel Antal