Съобщения за пресата

Statement of 18 November 2019 on the early parliamentary elections in Belarus

Yesterday, Belarusian citizens elected the 110 members of the Chamber of Representatives of the National Assembly of Belarus.

The European Parliament was not invited to observe these elections.

That said, we paid due attention to the findings of the international observers deployed in Minsk and across the country. In this respect, our appreciation and gratitude go notably to our colleagues from the PACE delegation, the OSCE PA delegation and the ODIHR election observation mission, for the work which they have accomplished on this occasion.

As things stand now, the European Parliament has no official relations with the National Assembly of Belarus, due to this country's failure, so far, to conduct elections in line with internationally agreed democratic standards, and fulfil its commitments when it comes to fundamental freedoms and the rule of law. These early parliamentary elections could have been the U-turn we were waiting for to unblock this situation.

We certainly value the accreditation of a number of local and international observers by the Belarusian authorities, as a token of good will, as we also appreciate the fact that the election day went by calmly.

Nevertheless, these elections were once again marred by a number of malpractices and shortcomings. Electoral law has been applied selectively, with a view to silencing dissenting voices. For example, the two sole independent MPs of the out-going Chamber have been barred from running again, thus depriving the opposition of its parliamentary representation. A number of opposition figures and independent journalists have been discouraged by the biased application of the legislation on slander against public officials. During the campaign, conditions have bene created neither for a real level-playing field between the candidates, nor for a genuine debate amongst them. Long-standing recommendations made by the Venice Commission and OSCE/ODIHR, including those related to the blatantly unbalanced composition of precinct election commissions, administrative chicaneries during the candidacy registration process and the lack of transparency during the counting process, have remained unaddressed.

We believe that the trust of the Belarusian citizens in their institutions will be key in the stability and prosperity of their country. As a consequence, we call on the Belarusian authorities to show a sense of responsibility and take meaningful steps towards the implementation of the aforementioned recommendations, in the run-up of the next year's presidential election.

For the time being, the next meeting of our Delegation, scheduled on 27 November in Strasbourg, will be the occasion to ponder the outcome of yesterday's elections, in the presence of Ms Corien Jonker, Head of the OSCE/ODIHR Election Observation Mission.