OSCE criticises Belarus election

Belarus's parliamentary election fell short of international democratic standards, according to Europe's election monitors.

The Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe praised "minor improvements" in yesterday's ballot but it concluded that the process deteriorated considerably during the vote count.

Even before the OSCE delivered its report, leading opposition figures including former Presidential candidates Aleksander Kazulin and Aleksander Milinkevic reached their verdict. They were among thousands who marched through the capital last night claiming the vote was rigged, as the result saw no opposition politicians elected.

Today one opposition leader denounced the outcome saying it reduced the chances of bringing President Lukashenko to the negotiating table.

President Alexander Lukashenko had hoped to secure an endorsement of the election to improve ties with the West, and had pledged the voting would be conducted according to accepted international requirements.

It now seems unlikely that the EU and the United States will move to lift sanctions imposed on Belarus over fundamental rights abuse.



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