Yesterday's elections in Belarus, that according to the results have denied the opposition even a single seat in parliament, undoubtedly evoke the nostalgic feel of the old Soviet Union.
Alexander Lukashenko ,the president of Belarus, believes that the election boycotted by that part of the opposition that is not incarcerated is salutary for his country: "Elections in those states where they are boring and peaceful are a good thing for the people, not to mention for the government.".
The West reflected Lukashenko could only be jealous of such elections. Most opposition candidates were barred from television and denied access to the state owned media. Lukashenko was not taking any chances following the protests that followed the 2010 elections.
It would appear that the main problem faced by Lukashenko's vote-rigging apparatus was the lack of a sporting challenge this time due to the boycott. Elections last nearly a week in Belarus- time enough for the authorities to get out the vote or else. There are enough inducements and threats to do the job, for example, such as the withdrawal of dormitory accommodations for students or the provision of cheap delicacies at a buffet.
Police are generally on hand to shadow independent observers, but since this time around opposition representatives constituted only 3.3% of the poll-watchers, many of Belarus' finest had little to do.
The independent observers were swamped by government appointed members of the election committee. Normally, the presence of independent observers keeps to vote within reason at a particular voting booth and the totals after then padded at voting booths where they are absent. This time around, the Lukashenko voters who vote early and often at various polling booths totaled up less travel expenses in order to perform their repetitive civic duty.
After the voting is concluded, members of the election committee pass the totals from their vote count to the chairperson without sharing the total with their fellow committee members. This way the chairperson is free to come up with a creative total, one that balances the local machine's efforts on behalf of the regime without being so overly extravagant as to draw accusations of obvious fraud.