Czech PM joins call for Belarusian elections rerun

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The Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš called for the presidential election in Belarus to be rerun with independent monitoring, ahead of a meeting of EU foreign ministers, POLITICO reports.

Protests are continuing for the sixth day in Belarus following President Alexander Lukashenko’s claimed victory in Sunday’s election that was described as “neither free nor fair” by the EU’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell. Belarusian authorities have been widely condemned amid increasing evidence of police brutality against protesters.

On Thursday, Josep Borrell wrote that the situation in Belarus has become a matter of grave concern.

“After last Sunday’s Presidential elections, Alexander Lukashenko and the Belarussian authorities must stop the repression against the Belarus people and open negotiations with the wider society. Over the last months, the Belarusians have clearly shown that they long for democracy and respect for human rights. A substantial political change is a precondition for further development of the relations between the EU and Belarus.”

In a blog post, he called strongly on the Belarusian authorities to put an end to the violence, to release all arbitrarily detained persons and to return without delay to the path of proper democratic and pluralist behaviour by opening dialogue with society.

“Otherwise, we will have to reconsider our relations with Belarus and eventually take sanctions against those responsible for the violence, arbitrary arrests and falsification of election results. We will discuss this issue on Friday the 14th during the extraordinary Foreign Affair Council that I have summoned.  We support of course the sovereignty and independence of Belarus, but we cannot develop our relations by ignoring blatant violations of human rights and political freedoms”, Borrell added.

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