Lukashenka’s Belarus can’t hope for restoring the special guest status without reforms and imposing moratorium on capital punishment, Hanna Machinska, the director of the Information Office of the Council of Europe in Poland, told in an interview to Euroradio.
The PACE representative noted the Belarusian issue would be considered at the Assembly session on September 28.
"I remember a sharp reaction of the Council of Europe to a death penalty in June. The Council of Europe can’t give the special guest status to a country where capital punishment exists. That’s why the moratorium must be imposed,"Hanna Machinska said.
The PACE representative told the countries usually declare the moratorium and then begin to change the legislation.
"No doubts that the Council of Europe will be very consistent on the death penalty issue. If you country demonstrates no changes, the Parliamentary Assembly won’t make advances to Belarus," the director of the Council of Europe Information Office in Poland emphasized.
If Belarus gets the special guest status, the Belarusian delegation will be able to take part in all PACE session but without the right to vote, Hanna Machinska says. "But the main thing is that Belarusian representatives will be able to take part in backstage discussions, watch the sessions," the Assembly representative notes.
"Belarus is a special case. Your country is the only European country not included in the Council of Europe. You have special problems, for example, the death penalty. No significant changes have been noticed. So pressure by European institutions is needed," Hanna Machinska said.
We remind that Belarus received the PACE special guest status in 1993. After the referendum 1996, which increased powers of Alyaksandr Lukashenka in prejudice of the parliament, Belarus’ application to join the Council of Europe was frozen. Belarus was deprived of the special guest status after the Assembly hadn’t recognized the referendum 1996.
None elections in Belarus have been recognized legitimate by international community during the rule of Lukashenka.
The parliamentary elections were held in Belarus in September 2008. 263 candidates ran for 110 seats in the parliament. About 100 opposition representatives participated in the elections, but none of them got to the parliament.
The OSCE/ODIHR election observing mission didn’t recognise the parliamentary elections free and democratic. OSCE observers noted "bad or very bad" process of vote count and recorded cases of falsification.