Osce Odihr Mission's Head Disappointed With Parliamentary Elections in Belarus

MINSK. Sep 29 (Interfax) - Head of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights' mission in Belarus Gert Arens has expressed disappointment with Sunday's parliamentary elections in Belarus.

"On the one hand, I was full of hope but on the other hand simultaneously disappointed," Arens told a press conference in Minsk on Monday.

"When we came to Belarus in August, we felt the wind of change blowing after President Lukashenko [Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko] and other government officials had made some statements," he said.

In Arens' opinion, campaigning lacked transparency and that is what disappointed him.

"There were certain signals but we didn't feel the authorities were fully aware of the need to solve the problem," he said,

The mission's statement was prepared not on a "green table" but throughout the whole of its seven week stay in Belarus, Arens said.

Head of a delegation from the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly Ann- Marie Lisen, for her part, announced that observers had no feeling that campaigning was under way.

"Campaigning should give people a choice. Political parties played an insignificant role due to the government's policy, which prevented them from making their campaigns more dynamic," she said.



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