September 25, 2012 - 10:39 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - The U.S. State Department has criticized severely the parliamentary elections in Belarus.
“The September 23 parliamentary elections in Belarus fell short of international standards and their conduct cannot be considered free or fair,” State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said in a statement, according to RIA Novosti
“The preliminary assessment of the OSCE election observation mission found that the elections were ‘not competitive from the start.’ The observer mission cited the limitation of choice for voters, the lack of impartiality on the part of the election commission, and the lack of proper counting procedures,” Nuland said.
Belarusian Central Election Commission earlier declared that the opposition failed to win any parliamentary seats in the voting, with the turnout of 74.3 per cent.
“The United States urges the authorities to take steps to meet Belarus’s international commitments to hold genuinely democratic elections and to foster respect for human rights,” Nuland said.
She added that “enhanced respect for democracy and human rights in Belarus, including the release and rehabilitation of all political prisoners, remains central to improving bilateral relations with the United States.”
The OSCE, which had 330 observers, said many prominent politicians "remained in prison or were not eligible to register because of their criminal record".
Representatives of five opposition groups and parties had denounced the vote as opaque and undemocratic, citing interference in the electoral process by the authorities. Observers from the CIS said the elections were free.