- April 29, 2013
In the report of the OSCE, in support of national minorities
In the last parliamentary elections in Lithuania Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania, despite the difficulties and obstacles posed achieved tremendous success, which results in an eight-person AWPL faction in the Parliament of the Republic of Lithuania.
Even before the election, in July 2012, in the House of Polish Culture in Vilnius was a meeting of leaders of the Electoral Action – leader, MEP and Vice-President Waldemar Tomaszewski, the mayor of Vilnius region Rekść Mary – with representatives of the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) – Raul Muresan and Robert Krimmer.
During the meeting, the President stressed that border changes AWPL constituencies in the Region and the main decision of the Electoral Commission of “isolation” following two electoral districts from the Vilnius region (61% of Poles) and add them to the malackiego area (6% of Poles) infringe the rights of the Polish minority in Lithuania. AWPL leader drew attention to the 5% electoral threshold, national minorities, which was introduced since 1996, and the inability to conduct the election campaign in their native language, because for the use of another language than the official threatened heavy fines.
3 January 2013 observers from the OSCE issued a report on the autumn parliamentary elections in Lithuania. The report presented a number of suggestions to improve the electoral process in Lithuania, and drew a lot of attention on the national and the limitation of their rights. Observers reported that in order to ensure better representation of minority parties in the legislative process, must be reduced by 5 percent electoral threshold parties representing ethnic minorities.
Foreign visitors also found that decisions about change electoral boundaries that have influence on the community of national minorities must be taken after consultation with the representatives of national minorities. Observers have noted that, in areas inhabited by ethnic minorities information about the voting procedure to be administered in the language of the minority, which, with the abolition of the language barrier with ease voting citizens procedures. The above statement is a big success of AWPL, which for several years sought to comply with European standards, electoral rights of national minorities in Lithuania.
Tłumaczenie by Katarzyna Dąbrowska w ramach praktyk w Europejskiej Fundacji Praw Człowieka, www.efhr.eu. Translated by by Katarzyna Dąbrowska within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.