Top election official to travel to Vienna despite EU visa ban
Lidziya Yarmoshyna, head of the central election commission who is on the European Union's entry ban list over her role in suspected election fraud, has been granted a visa to travel to Vienna for an OSCE conference, BelaPAN said.
The Supplementary Human Dimension Meeting on Democratic Elections and Election Observation will take place on July 12 and 13.
When reached by BelaPAN, Mikalay Lazavik, secretary of the central election commission, said that he had also received an invitation to attend the conference but would stay in Minsk due to the commission's busy schedule in the run-up to September's parliamentary elections.
Mr. Lazavik, who is also on the European Union's visa ban list, complained that the sanctions prevented the commission's top officials from "establishing full-scale contacts with colleagues from European countries." "I was unable to attend a meeting of the heads of central election commissions in Moldova last year," he said.
"However, this time the OSCE leadership is apparently willing to receive an invitation to observe the elections in Belarus, that's why we have been invited to the conference," Mr. Lazavik suggested.
Widespread reports of election frauds prompted international observers to declare undemocratic all parliamentary and presidential elections held in Belarus in the last 15 years. Since the 2006 presidential election, Ms. Yarmoshyna, now 59, and Mr. Lazavik have been banned from entering the United States and the European Union.