The Socialist International strongly denounces the recent parliamentary elections that took place in Belarus on 23rd September 2012.
Election results concluded with all 110 parliamentary seats from the lower chamber of the House of Representatives, taken by parties backing authoritarian president, Alexander Lukashenko.
The electoral process has been widely criticised as non-competitive, lacking in impartiality and deeply undemocratic. Voter-apathy, a factor often associated with disillusioned citizens, was also reported. Opposition parties were unable to campaign in a free and fair manner to the extent that some boycotted the elections pulling out before they took place.
The Socialist International strongly denounces this irregular and undemocratic electoral process and reiterates its condemnation of Lukashenko’s repressive regime. We continue to offer our support to our member parties, the Belarus Social Democratic Party (BSDP-NH), the Belarusian Party of Labour, which was given Observer Status at the SI Congress in South Africa in September 2012, and other like-minded political forces.
The Socialist International has long supported the struggle for democracy in Belarus. After presidential elections took place in December 2010, a number of oppositional party leaders, political representatives and local activists were unjustly imprisoned. Included in those incarcerated was Mikalai Statkevich, chair of SI member party BSDP-NH, who was a presidential candidate. He remains in prison today, after being sentenced to six years without a fair trial. The Socialist International swiftly announced its abhorrence of the situation and issued a call to president Lukashenko demanding the immediate and unconditional release of all political prisoners. SI Secretary General travelled to Belarus in 2011 to meet with social democratic parties, opposition forces and civil rights movements and demonstrate the SI’s commitment to achieving democracy in the country.
The Socialist International continues to be deeply concerned over the violation of human rights and fundamental freedoms in Belarus.
The SI reiterates its call for the immediate release of Statkevich and all political prisoners that remain unjustly imprisoned in Belarus and calls for the establishment of a democratic system of governance that is so urgently needed in the country.
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The release from prison of Mikalai Statkevich along with five other political prisoners in Belarus is greeted by the Socialist International, having campaigned consistently for his freedom and rights, as well as for those of all others unjustly detained for political reasons in Belarus. Statkevich, leader of the SI-member Belarus Social Democratic Party (BSDP-NH), and an opposition presidential candidate in the elections of December 2010, has been held in prison since that time for taking part in peaceful pro-democracy protests against the authoritarian regime of President Lukashenko…