CIS long-term observers for Belarus’ presidential election expected to arrive within next few days

CIS Executive Secretary Sergei Lebedev, a former chief of Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service, is expected to head the mission...

A five-member long-term observation mission of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) for Belarus’ December 19 presidential election is expected to arrive within the next few days, Lidziya Yarmoshyna, head of the central election commission, told reporters in Minsk on Monday, as quoted by BelaPAN.

CIS Executive Secretary Sergei Lebedev, a former chief of Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service, is expected to head the mission.

According to Ms. Yarmoshyna, the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, has not yet contacted the central election commission on the issue of election observation.

Now that half the period set by regulations for applying for the registration of nomination groups has elapsed, only one application has been filed, Ms. Yarmoshyna noted, adding that in the previous 2006 presidential race, applications had been filed evenly.

Meanwhile, nine persons have announced their plans to run for President. These nine include: Syarhey Haydukevich, leader of the Liberal Democratic Party; Uladzimir Nyaklyayew, leader of the “Tell the Truth!” campaign; Ryhor Kastusyow, deputy chairman of the Belarusian Popular Front; Andrey Sannikaw, a former deputy foreign minister and leader of an opposition group called European Belarus; Yaraslaw Ramanchuk, deputy chairman of the United Civic Party; Yury Hlushakow, deputy chairman of the Belarusian Party of the Greens; Vital Rymashewski, co-chairman of the Belarusian Christian Democracy party; Mikalay Statkevich, chairman of the unregistered Narodnaya Hramada Belarusian Social Democratic Party; and economist Viktar Tsyareshchanka.

On Monday, the central election commission registered the nomination group of Mr. Tsyareshchanka.

Under electoral regulations, a nomination group must have at least 100 members. The deadline for filing applications is September 24.

For a presidential hopeful to get access to the ballot, his nomination group must collect at least 100,000 voter signatures. The signature collection period begins on September 30 and ends on October 29.