European Parliament does not recognize Lukashenko as elected president of Belarus

August 17, 2020, 15:15 TASS RUSSIAN NEWS AGENCY

Besides, the European Parliament supports the decision of EU foreign ministers on introducing individual sanctions against “all those responsible for violence and the falsified presidential elections”.

Photo: Valery Sharifulin/TASS
Belarus’ President Alexander Lukashenko attends a rally of his supporters in Independence Square.

Members of the European Parliament do not recognize the results of the Belarusian presidential election, considering Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko a persona non grata in the EU, the joint statement by European Parliament’s parties published on Monday informs.

“The 9th August presidential elections were neither free, nor fair, and credible reports point to a victory of Svetlana Tikhanovskaya. We therefore do not recognise Alexander Lukashenko as the re-elected President of Belarus and consider him a persona non grata in the European Union. We join the Belarusian people in their demand for new and free elections, under the supervision of independent observers,” the statement reads.

Support for new sanctions

“We strongly condemn the arrests and appalling acts of violence and torture perpetrated against peaceful protesters, and call for a full investigation of these crimes, which cannot go unpunished. In this regard, we remind Alexander Lukashenko of his responsibility,” members of the European Parliament stressed. “We strongly condemn the suppression of internet and media, road blockades, and intimidation of journalists in order to stop the flow of information about the situation in the country. We call for the immediate release of all those arbitrarily detained, and political prisoners who have been detained before and during the election campaign.”

Besides, the European Parliament supports the decision of EU foreign ministers on introducing individual sanctions against “all those responsible for violence and the falsified presidential elections.” “We urge the sanctions list to be compiled as soon as possible, so people who committed these crimes are banned from visiting the EU and their assets are frozen,” the statement notes.

“The European Union can and must do more to further the cause of democracy and freedom in Belarus, including by strengthening assistance to Belarusian civil society and immediately ceasing any financial support to the government and state-controlled projects. We suggest the relaunch of targeted EU assistance programmes to help repressed people in Belarus and their families,” the statement continues.

Revised EU policy

According to the European Parliament, “the European Union should equally take strong and unequivocal action by reassessing its relations with the current regime in Belarus, in line with EU values and principles, and reconsider its cooperation with Minsk, including within the Eastern Partnership.” “The EU should prepare a comprehensive review of its policy towards Belarus, taking into account different scenarios and developments in the country, that also includes a substantially increased role for the EU (politically, technically, financially),” the MPs noted.

Members of the European Parliament expressed their regret in relation to the denied access to two MPs “who were travelling in their private capacity to Minsk to support the people in Belarus.” “We propose that EU appoints a special representative for Belarus in order to support the process of a peaceful transition of power in accordance with the will of Belarusian people,” the statement added.

“We call on the EU to support a peaceful transition of power, and engage in a dialogue with the Belarusian opposition and civil society with a view to launch a new electoral process, under the supervision of a new Electoral Commission, a body that can be trusted by all the parties. It is the right of the people of Belarus to elect their own political representatives,” the European Parliament stressed.

Members of the European Parliament also noted that Russia must “refrain from any interference, covert or overt, in Belarus following the election.” They “call on EU institutions and Member States to vigilantly counter any Russian actions in this regard.”

Situation in Belarus

Belarus held a presidential election on August 9. According to the final results provided by the Belarusian Central Election Commission on August 14, incumbent President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko got 80.1% of the vote. Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, who was considered his main opponent, came in second with 10.12%.

After exit poll results were announced in the evening of August 9, protests erupted in downtown Minsk and other regions of the country, leading to clashes between protesters and the law enforcement. The protests continued over the following days. As a result, several thousand people were detained, dozens of police officers and protesters were injured.

August 17, 2020, 15:15 TASS RUSSIAN NEWS AGENCY