International observers will not be invited to monitor Belarus’ coming local elections, Lidziya Yarmoshyna, head of the central election commission, told reporters in Minsk on January 12.
The Belarusian authorities have never done this, she said. "If we invite them, we will have to stick to the practice in the future," Ms. Yarmoshyna explained, noting that every country should pursue a "consistent tactics" in inviting international observers.
She said that the practice of not inviting them to local elections was common across the world. The official added that diplomats and "foreign guests invited within the framework of parliamentary and regional ties" could be seen partly as international observers.
Earlier, the United Civic Party appealed to the OSCE’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights to send observers to Belarus’ local elections. Ms. Yarmoshyna commented that the Office might do it only following the Belarusian central election commission’s official invitation and branded the opposition’s appeal as a provocation.