Updated at 14:03,27-06-2022

Top election official cavalier about sanctions

By Syarhey Karalevich, BelaPAN

The West’s sanctions against members of election commissions in Belarus have and cannot have any impact, Lidziya Yarmoshyna, head of the central election commission, told BelTA.

Ms. Yarmoshyna described members of election commissions as people who have the closest ties with the government system. “The good of the fatherland is a greater value for them than the possibility of going to Paris,” she said.

“By the way, I have repeatedly heard from my colleagues, that they would be offended if no sanctions had been imposed on them,” Mr. Yarmoshyna said. “How come the head of the central election commission is subject [to sanctions] and they are not? This means that they didn’t work well. Sanctions for my colleagues are such a trifle! For pragmatic people, those for whom money and privileges determine everything, losing the opportunity to visit EU countries looks terribly negative. But our election workers are above such considerations. And we have different life values.”

Alyaksandr Lukashenka appointed Lidziya Yarmoshyna chairperson of the central election commission in 1996 in the place of Viktar Hanchar, who mysteriously disappeared in 1999 and is believed to have been murdered by a government-run death squad. Widespread reports of election frauds prompted international observers to declare undemocratic all parliamentary and presidential elections held in Belarus in the last 17 years. Since the 2006 presidential election, Ms. Yarmoshyna has been banned from entering the United States and the European Union over her suspected role in ballot-rigging. Several other members of the central election commission as well as the heads of some regional election commissions were blacklisted following the 2010 presidential poll.