Human Rights Defenders for Free Elections

Праваабарончы цэнтр «Вясна» беларускі хельсінкскі камітэт

"A mockery." The world reacts to Belarus deputy elections*

Counting of votes on February 25. Illustration photo

On February 25, the Single Voting Day was held for the House of Representatives and local Councils of Deputies. This took place amid widespread repression and the clearing of the political field of potential opposition candidates. The official early voting turnout was 41.71%, setting a new record for election campaigns. At the same time, the final turnout was the lowest since 2000 (73.09%). Immediately after the polls closed in Belarus, the U.S. State Department issued a statement calling the elections in Belarus a sham. Representatives of other countries and European politicians made their statements somewhat later. 

The German Foreign Ministry strongly condemned the "systematic repression during the elections" in Belarus.

"The Lukashenka regime is doing everything to suppress the people's desire for democracy. He felt the power of the democratic idea [in the 2020 presidential elections] and this power continues to haunt the regime," the German Foreign Ministry said in a brief statement released after the completion of the elections to the House of Representatives and local Councils of Deputies in Belarus.

Verkhovna Rada deputies from the parliamentary group "For Democratic Belarus" also reacted. In a statement, they called on the world not to recognize the election results. 

The Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum stated: "Sham parliamentary elections are conducted today by Lukashenka's regime in Belarus! 1,420 political prisoners, including members of the Forum, remain behind bars on this day." 

Support for the Belarusian people was expressed by the group "For a Democratic Belarus" in the German Bundestag:

"We stand with the Belarusian democratic forces. And Lukashenka's sham elections will not change this."

The Austrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated

"The parliamentary and local elections in Belarus are neither free nor fair. We will continue to work for a free, independent, and prosperous Belarus."

French Parliament member Frédéric Petit noted:

"Without the opposition and international observers, the Lukashenka regime is organizing a mockery of the elections. We urge the Minister of Foreign Affairs not to recognize their results."

The NATO Chairman stated:

"The sham elections in Belarus don't fool anyone: they are meaningless." 

He added that European parliaments and governments "must continue to denounce the regime's repression."