Updated at 15:34,14-12-2017

House of Representatives elections falling short of democratic standards, EU politician says

By Syarhey Karalevich, BelaPAN

Belarus' coming House of Representatives elections should become a resolute step toward closer relations between Minsk and the European Union, Joseph Daul, president of the European People’s Party (EPP), told reporters in Minsk on September 2.

The politician said that elections should be free and fair, with a level playing field secured for all candidates. Unfortunately, Belarus' ongoing election campaign falls short of the standards, he said.

Mr. Daul said that he was aware of the problems facing candidates in different parts of Belarus, and promised to continue monitoring the situation.

The Belarusian authorities have failed to implement key recommendations made by the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights following the 2015 presidential election, namely guarantee candidates' access to the state media, secure transparent vote counting, rule out irregularities at the early voting stage and include opposition representative in election commissions.

The recent changes introduced by the government to electoral laws are short of the OSCE's fundamental recommendations and represent only slight improvements, said Mr. Daul. More steps should be taken to reform electoral regulations, he said.