Schulz on Belarus elections: mockery of democratic ballot

September 24, 2012 – Brussels

European Parliament President Martin Schulz made the following statement following parliamentary elections in Belarus:

“I deeply regret that parliamentary elections in Belarus have yet again failed to meet international standards of fair and transparent polls.

With opposition leaders remaining imprisoned, with some opposition candidates denied registration, with the people’s voice silenced, it was a mockery of a democratic ballot.

Elections were marred by limitations on access to media, obstacles for the international observers to monitor the vote count and reports about pressure on different groups of voters.

Belarus continues on a non-democratic path, depriving its citizens of civic rights and from reaping the benefits of closer engagement with the European Union.

I regret that in this situation the European Parliament will not be able to restore official ties with the Belarusian parliament.

I have long lost the illusions about the good will of the Belarusian leadership to commit to democratic reforms.

The European Union should finally devise an effective strategy how to deal with Belarus – meaning how to firmly respond to flagrant abuses of human rights and rule of law and how to support the Belarusian people and their struggling civil society.”

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