Elections in Belarus: statement by Andres Herkel, PACE rapporteur on the situation in Belarus

Strasbourg, 24.09.2012 - "I regret that many OSCE commitments on citizens’ democratic rights to associate, to stand as candidates and to express themselves freely were not respected in yesterday’s parliamentary elections in Belarus and that the elections were not administered in an impartial manner due to the lack of proper counting procedures or ways for observers to verify the results, " said Andres Herkel (EPP/CD, Estonia), rapporteur of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) on the situation in Belarus.

"It is also deplorable that, on 19 September, Belarus denied visas to two colleagues from the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, Ms Marieluise Beck from Germany and Mr Emanuelis Zingeris from Lithuania, who planned to monitor these elections, as part of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly mission. I share Ms Beck's first reactions that 'Dictator Lukashenka is not even trying to keep up appearances of free and fair elections if he locks journalists and observers out'. This matter will be raised during the October part-session of the Assembly," Mr Herkel concluded.

The PACE Committee on Political Affairs and Democracy will organise a hearing on 4 October 2012 at 8:30, with the participation of civil society representatives.