Belarussian Presidential Elections set for December 19, 2010

Belarus Coat of Arms

Belarus Coat of Arms

The Belarussian parliament back in September had set the date for the presidential elections. As RIA Novosti communicated at the time:

The Parliament of Belarus on Tuesday set the presidential election in the country for December 19, 2010, reports RIA Novosti.

This decision was taken unanimously by parliamentarians.

Incumbent President Alexander Lukashenko had made it clear earlier that he would participate in the election, but this was not officially announced.

Now to participate in this election, potential candidates need to come up with at least 100’000 valid signatures supporting their candidature. Apparently, eleven candidates have achieved this, again as per RIA Novosti:

Eleven potential candiates handed over the required signatures to participate in the presidential elections of Belarus, Nikolai Lozovik, the secretary of the CEC (Central Election Commission) told RIA Novosti on Saturday. A potential candidate must collect at least 100,000 signatures in his support.
“In the first place is the current president, Alexander Lukashenko, who has handed over more than 1.1 million signatures”, said Lozovik.
He said that the second highest number of signatures to be handed over was from opposition author and writer Vladimir Neklayev, who arrived at more than 160 thousand signatures, followed by former Deputy Foreigne Minister of Belarus, Andrei Sannikov and the vice-president of the United Civil Party and well-known liberal economist Yaroslav Romanchuk with more than 150 thousand and 120 thousand signatures, respectively.
“All other candidates have handed over to the committee from 105 to 120 thousand signatures”, informed the secretary of the Belarus CEC.
The last presidential elections in Belarus were held on March 19, 2006 with Alexander Lukashenko getting 82.6% of the vote (source: Wikipedia). According to the OSCE the elections were “severely flawed due to arbitrary use of state power and restriction on basic rights”, as they wrote in a press release:

MINSK, 20 March, 2006 – The Belarusian presidential election on 19 March failed to meet OSCE commitments for democratic elections, despite the fact that voters were offered the potential for a genuine choice between four candidates.

Arbitrary use of state power and widespread detentions showed a disregard for the basic rights of freedom of assembly, association and expression, and raise doubts regarding the authorities’ willingness to tolerate political competition, concludes the OSCE Election Observation Mission in a statement issued today.

Over 500 international observers from 38 countries observed the voting and counting on behalf of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) and the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, PA.

“The Belarusian people deserve better. The courageous efforts of the opposition candidates to offer voters a genuine choice for president were obstructed by actions by state authorities,” said OSCE PA president Alcee Hastings, appointed by the OSCE Chairman-in-Office as the Special Co-ordinator for the short-term observers.

Well, let’s see how it goes this time. The Belarussian president, by the way has a 5 year term.


IshAvto (IzhAvto) Avoids Bankruptcy Continues Production

As I mentioned last year, the Russian car maker IzhAvto, which in addition to Russian car models also produces KIAs, had filed for bankruptcy.
Now, in May of this year, the company presented a restructuring plan to creditors that foresees the resumption of industrial activity, i.e. car production, as well as cost cutting and sale of property not related to the primary activity of producing cars. The plan was accepted in a creditors’ meeting on May 4, 2010.
The plan, which was developed by an external entity, also foresees the borrowing of 500 million rubles and furthermore assumes that the company will reach break-even after 18 month and be profitable thereafter. (This info is taken from a press release on the IzhAvto website.)

The first cars were indeed shipped in September 2010 and it will be interesting to see the end-of-year balance sheet of the company.

Kyrgyzstan Parliamentary Elections 2010 Final Results

The official final results of the Kyrgyzstan parliamentary elections 2010 are available from the Central Elections Commission in Kyrgyzstan. According to their data, 1’679’538 – or 55.9% – or the eligible voters have cast their vote and the count is as follows (I’ll only list the five parties with more than 5% of the popular vote since only they make it into the parliament. The full list – in Russian – is available here):
Votes: 266’923
Percent: 8,88
Votes: 241’528
Percent: 8,04
Votes: 232’682
Percent: 7,74
Votes: 217’601
Percent: 7,24
Votes: 168’218
Percent: 5,6
In terms of seats in the Jogorku Kenesh this would give – according to my calculation (the total number of seats is 120):
Ata-Shurt: 28
SDPK: 26
Ar-Namys: 25
Since the absolute majority is 61, at least three parties are needed to form a viable government. Even the three parties with the least seats would be able to form a government and the three parties with the most seats would fall short of the two-thirds majority by one vote.
Please note, that this is my calculation of the attribution of seats, the official figures may be different.

Kyrgyzstan Parliamentary Elections 2010 Results

Preliminary results of the parliamentary elections in Kyrgyzstan are, according to AKIPress, which bases its analysis on data from “Shailoo”, the state election system, the situation looks as follows:

Results from 2001 (85.77%) of the 2333 polling stations indicates the following distribution of seats in the 120 seat Kyrgyz parliament (named Shogorkoo Kenesh):

  1. Ata Shurt – 29 seats;
  2. SDPK – 26 seats;
  3. Ar-Namys – 23 seats;
  4. Respublika – 23 seats;
  5. Ata Meken – 19 seats.

It seems like at least three parties are necessary to form a government and that all combinations of three or more are mathematically possible to arrive at an absolute majority.

Kyrgyzstan Elections Going Smoothly

According to AKIPress elections are going smoothly and up to 11:00 local time around 11% of voters eligible to vote hat already voted. In additions, the vote was going smoothly in all districts. As previously announced by the Kyrgyz government, there will be no official exit poll be held this year. The poll’s 2289 poll stations had opened at 8:00 local time to let the 2’836’508 voters vote.

Helicopter Crash in Tadjikistan – 28 Dead

According to the Kazakh news agency Khabar – which cites the Tajik news agency “Asia-Plus” as a source – a helicopter of the Tadjik national guard crashed leaving all 28 passengers dead. The crash happened on the morning of October 6, 2010 during an “anti-terrorist operation” 190 km east of Dushanbe, the capital of Tadjikistan. In addition to the crew of four, 21 members of the elite unit “Alpha” were also killed. Preliminarily the cause is attributed to technical problems of the helicopter, however the incident is under investigation.

Only recently, in September 2010 23 Tadjik soldiers were killed in a ‘terrorist attack’ writes The Telegraph:

The attack occurred on Sunday afternoon 150 miles east of the capital Dushanbe, in the moutainous and inaccessible Racht valley, where the
soldiers were to rejoin a security post.

Military forces are leading operations in the region to try to find 25 fugitives with suspected links to al-Qaeda, who escaped from a Dushanbe prison in
August after killing six prison guards. The fugitives were believed to have headed to the Racht valley, authorities said.

Does look like a new front, doesn’t it.


Parliamentary Elections 2010 in Kyrgyzstan

This Sunday, October 10 2010 parliamentary elections will be held in Kyrgyzstan. According to the Kyrgyz government, no exit polls will be held this time.
The OSCE in a pre-election report considers the campaign to be fair as all 29 parties have been able to campaign freely. That doesn’t keep an US group from complaining about undue Russian influence in this election. According to the Telegraph, the group is Freedom House:

Last week, Freedom House, a non-governmental organisation which receives more than half of its funding from the US government, began saturating Kyrgyz television with three 30-second television commercials on corruption, rights, and inter-ethnic tolerance, starting on Wednesday.

You can’t beat Americans as far as arrogance and hypocrisy is concerned. Only they would call an organisation that receives a large part of its funding from the government a non-government organisation, and only they would complain about the influence of others while heavily influencing themselves by running US government-funded election commercials in a foreign country.

Freedom House, according to Wikipedia, receives about 66% – or two-thirds – of its budget from the US government, while various other sources, including the Dutch government provide the rest. Hardly an NGO.