BHHRG

About BHHRG

The British Helsinki Human Rights Group monitors human rights and democracy in the 57 OSCE member states from the United States to Central Asia.
* Monitoring the conduct of elections in OSCE member states.
* Examining issues relating to press freedom and freedom of speech
* Reporting on conditions in prisons and psychiatric institutions

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Troubles in Transnistria: Why not a referendum to decide the issue?
HITS: 13277 | 19-02-2008, 15:39 | Comments: (0) | Categories: Moldova , PR and human rights, World health

The West and its surrogate agencies have shown themselves resolutely uninterested in the conduct of elections in Transnistria. After a month of impasse on the PMR-Ukrainian border, the OSCE in Vienna announced that it would not recognise the results of any referendum held in Transnistria to allow the local population to express its opinion on its fate.[1]
Igor Smirnov has been president of the breakaway region since 1990. During an interview with BHHRG he pointed out wearily how often the West – the “international community” as it calls itself - has ignored elections in Transnistria or prejudged them. Last December’s parliamentary elections had been won by the opposition but the West still denies legitimacy to such polls even though it accepts, for instance, that Montenegro’s Milo Djukanović has held power as premier or president or now again premier for almost 17 years. Despite the fact that the West has been happy to accept the disintegration of both the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia, it remains strangely fixated on preserving the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the post-Soviet states whose claim to political legitimacy is often shaky to put it mildly.[2]

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Armenia Parliamentary Elections Briefing
HITS: 9902 | 22-08-2007, 04:00 | Comments: (0) | Categories: Armenia, Elections

Sandwiched between Iran and Turkey close to the trans-Caucasus oil pipeline, Armenia is at a sensitive geostrategic crossroads. Will Parliamentary elections trigger another colour-coded revolution?

Parliamentary Elections Briefing
Introduction

Even before Armenians went to the polls on 12th May, 2007, for parliamentary elections, the political atmosphere had become heated with accusations from the opposition and allied NGOs that the government was planning to rig the outcome while the government accused opposition leaders of treasonable behaviour. A week before the vote, the police arrested the last foreign minister of the former President Levon Ter-Petrossian accusing him of money-laundering, while the opposition countered that a prominent pro-government party leader and magnate was buying votes by funding charitable activities. Threats of mass demonstrations against President Robert Kocharian if his parliamentary allies won the elections – as opinion polls predicted – raised the spectre of another “People Power” revolution in the former Soviet Union.

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Election Background: Poland Today
HITS: 2085 | 10-01-2006, 00:41 | Comments: (0) | Categories: Elections, Political leaders

With a population of 38 m. Poland is by far the largest of the 8 countries from the ‘New Europe’ which joined the EU in 2004. In the 15 years leading up to accession to the union it suffered a profound assault on its economic well – being as ‘shock therapy’ kicked in and factories were closed putting millions out of work. At the same time, farmers were badly hit as state subsidies dried up. Some of the large state farms in the north of the country managed to convert to modern agribusinesses, often with new Dutch or German owners. But most small farmsteads were pronounced economically unviable, often only providing a subsistence living for their owners. Many of these developments are visible to anyone travelling around Poland even though the media both domestic and foreign foster the impression that the country is ‘booming’ using statistical sleights of hand worthy of Stalinist “growth” figures.
Commentators and neo-liberal Polish politicians, like PO’s Jan Rokita, regularly state that Poland should not follow the ‘old European’ model of France and Germany.[1] Its “fast-growing, low-wage and low-tax system is perceived as a threat by the stodgier, high-unemployment economies of France and Germany” says the International Herald Tribune.

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Poland:Europe's neo-con Nation
HITS: 2174 | 10-01-2006, 00:33 | Comments: (0) | Categories: Poland , Politics, Elections

Parliamentary and Presidential Elections in 2005 have brought a group of unpredictable nationalists to power
On 23rd October, 2005, Warsaw mayor Lech Kaczynski was elected President of Poland, becoming Poland’s third president since 1990. Earlier, on 25th September, Kaczynski’s party, Law and Justice (PiS) gained the largest number of votes in elections for the Parliament (Sejm) and Senate, just ahead of the free market, Citizens Platform (PO). As his campaign posters proclaimed, Mr. Kaczynski’s central pledge was the creation of a Fourth Polish republic which would be founded on the country’s moral revival.
The results of both elections also marked the third time that the country’s voters had veered from left to right: the outgoing Alliance of the Democratic Left (SLD) minority government had been shaken for some time by corruption allegations and popular discontent with its policies which were a continuation of the broad trends set by its predecessors since the first post-Communist government in 1989.

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Czech Republic: parliamentary elections 2002
HITS: 2145 | 14-04-2005, 03:40 | Comments: (0) | Categories: Czech Republic , Elections, Political science

The June 2002 elections have returned a government coalition of left and right that has something for everyone, from President Havel to the EU. But, the better-than-expected Communist vote threatens to spoil the party.

Introduction

Parliamentary elections were held in the Czech Republic on 14th/15th June, 2002. Since the last poll in 1998 the country had been ruled by a minority Social Democrat (ČSSD) government tolerated by the second largest party, the centre-right Civic Democratic Party (ODS) in what became known as the ‘opposition agreement’.

This arrangement has been subject to furious criticism from certain quarters within the political elite of the Czech Republic and attempts have been made on several occasions to bring it to an end. However, defying nay-sayers, the government survived its 4 year mandate.

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Estonia parliamentary elections 2003: Is small beautiful?
HITS: 2015 | 3-04-2003, 16:10 | Comments: (0) | Categories: Estonia , PR and human rights, Elections

Estonia is hailed as one of post-Communism's success stories but is this correct? BHHRG went to see and monitored the parliamentary election held in the republic on 2nd March 2003.
Introduction
The small Baltic republic of Estonia has been hailed as a bastion of democracy and one of the economic success stories of post-communism. In the present year, 2003, the Heritage Foundation concluded that it has the sixth freest economy in the world, thus putting it ahead of France and Germany! Such fulsome approval has, no doubt, contributed to the fact that the country is now poised to enter both NATO and the EU. In November 2002, Estonia became one of seven new ex-Communist countries to be invited to join the alliance, along with Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Romania and Bulgaria. Estonia is also among the top contenders for membership in the European Union. Referendums to endorse membership of both organizations will be held later in 2003.

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