- January 23, 2015
The Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania has objections to the actions of the Central Electoral Commission of the Republic of Lithuania
The recommendations of OSCE (Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe) concerning voting rights of minorities are not executed in Lithuania. The Central Electoral Commission of the Republic of Lithuania is purposely waiting to make the decision concerning the registration of tickets of the Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania and the Russian Alliance “Tomaszewski’s Bloc”. These were the allegations made during Friday’s press conference by the leader of the Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania and the Member of the European Parliament Waldemar Tomaszewski, and the chair of the Lithuanian Poles’ Electoral Action Political Group in the Lithuanian parliament Rita Tamašunienė.
The Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania intends to register their tickets in fifteen local governments. They were registered in only two of them though: the Vilnius Region and Šalčininkai District. In the remaining local governments, local electoral commissions refused to register the tickets claiming that the surname of Waldemar Tomaszewski was used in the name of the coalition. The members of the Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania made a complaint with the Central Electoral Commission of the Republic of Lithuania about that matter, which as Tomaszewski pointed out, has not been answered since eight days. According to Tomaszewski, such actions are made on purpose, and aim to confuse and mislead the electorate.
The Central Electoral Commission of the Republic of Lithuania announced on Friday that the electoral commissions of the Vilnius Region and Šalčininkai District did not break the law while registering the tickets of the Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania and the Russian Alliance “Tomaszewski’s Bloc”. At the same time the Central Electoral Commission of the Republic of Lithuania did not answer the question about what electoral commission in other regions should do in this situation.
Waldemar Tomaszewski pointed out that the voting rights of minorities in Lithuania are still being limited, which is against the recommendations of OSCE. The same electoral threshold applies to political parties representing minorities, as well as to other political groupings. The electoral district boundaries are changed in the areas inhabited exclusively by the members of minority groups, which affects the ethnic proportions of Poles in Lithuania. Additionally, minorities cannot use their mother tongue during the electoral campaign.
“Minority groups are not treated leniently during elections. They participate in the elections according to the same principles as the main political parties, which have thousands of members and units in the entire Lithuania” – said Rita Tamašunienė. According to her, the possibility of using information in languages of minorities during the electoral campaign would be beneficial for all parties because their electoral manifestos would reach also those, who are not fluent in Lithuanian. Rita Tamašunienė reminded that when the votes of the members of minority groups were needed during the referendum on the issue of Lithuania’s accession to the European Union, the electoral campaign was not run only in the Lithuanian language.
According to the members of the Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania, the Central Electoral Commission of the Republic of Lithuania should execute the recommendations of OSCE; unfortunately, it does not take any measures on that matter.
Based on: BNS, inf.wł.
Translated by Tomasz Szatkowski within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.