Saeima calls for re-run of Belarusian elections

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On Tuesday, August 18, the Saeima adopted a statement on the Belarusian presidential elections, calling for them to be re-held according to internationally recognized standards, as well as ensuring equal access for the opposition to all government-controlled media and allowing it to participate in the elections on equal terms, the Saeima Press Service said August 18.

The statement calls for fair conditions and opportunities for all presidential candidates to be able to carry out a genuine pre-election campaign and for the re-election to ensure the presence of international observers. It also mentions ensuring that all supporters of the electoral candidates are represented at all levels of the electoral commission.

In the statement, the Saeima expresses its concern about repression and violence against members of civil society and representatives of independent media during the presidential elections in Belarus, as well as before and after. It is also stressed that the right to express views in free elections is one of the fundamental values of democracy, while freedom of expression and freedom of assembly are fundamental human rights and the current behavior of the Belarusian authorities violates internationally recognized human rights and democratic principles.

MPs call on the Belarusian authorities to immediately cease the use and persecution of force, to release all political prisoners and those who have been illegally detained in recent days, to rehabilitate freed political prisoners and to restore their civil and political rights.

The authorities are also called upon to ensure respect for democratic principles, human rights and fundamental freedoms, in accordance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the international and regional human rights instruments ratified by Belarus.

The Belarusian government is encouraged to enter into an immediate dialogue with the opposition and civil society in order to avoid further violence and to implement the changes that citizens consider desirable and necessary, the statement said.

In the statement, the Saeima calls on the Latvian government to support the imposition of EU sanctions against Belarusian officials responsible for human rights violations and counterfeiting of electoral results.

The statement also calls on the Latvian government and the EU institutions to provide support to the Belarusian public, including financial support for the development of civil society and independent media, for the well-being of the population and for fundamental rights.

As has been pointed out several times, there is active communication and coordination between Member States of the European Union on the situation in Belarus. According to Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics, the coordination of positions also takes place regionally, including, of course, with the Baltic neighbors. There are different examples of this. Yesterday, the presidents of the Baltic States and Poland came out with a statement on the re-election and free elections in Belarus. All presidents offered a mediator role in dealing with the situation. The Prime Ministers of the Baltic States and the Heads of Foreign Affairs Commissions have also made a joint statement.

In Belarus, citizens are protesting the results of the presidential elections held last week. According to the information provided by the Belarusian Central Election Commission, President Alexander Lukashenko received 80.1% of the votes and opposition candidate Svetlana Tihanovskaya – 10.1%.

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