Updated at 16:23,20-06-2018

German minister makes election warning


Relations between Belarus and the European Union will depend on whether the former country's presidential election is free and fair, Ronald Pofalla, chief of staff of the German Chancellery/federal minister for special affairs, told reporters in Minsk on November 4.

He said that the ballot-access signature collection stage in this election was more liberal than in the previous campaign.

"But a free and fair election involves certain standards, which in our opinion are minimal. These are the lack of obstacles to the registration of candidates for president, a balanced composition of election commissions and access for observers," Mr. Pofalla warned.

He said that despite certain progress Belarus' presidential election still fell far short of Europe's standards. "We see positive trends in Belarus but still think that there are no normal principles for a free election here," he stressed.

The German official did not say what sanctions the EU could impose on Belarus if the election was not recognized democratic.

"This will depend on what the election's details will be," he said. "If the principles of a free and fair election are not observed, we will make clear in no uncertain terms that we consider this unacceptable and Europe will have to think about its reaction."