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Statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Belarus on the 2006 Presidential Elections in Belarus

On 19 March, the presidential elections took place in Belarus. According to the preliminary results by the Central Commission of the Republic of Belarus for Elections and All-Nation Referenda, Alexander Lukashenko received 82,6 % of the votes cast and came out as the winner of the elections. The 92,6 % turnover was unprecedented.

The elections were conducted in full compliance with the state Constitution and national legislation. The Belarusian people have made their choice in favor of further strengthening the national statehood and raising the level of well-being.

The Belarusian authorities have done enormous work on the electoral process preparation so that every citizen could fully use his/her constitutional right to elect and to be elected.

This was made possible due to ensuring genuine competition between alternative candidates participating in the elections. The people could really decide between different political programs.

The elections preparation and their conduct were monitored by over 30 thousand domestic observers, and more than 1200 international observers invited by Belarus, both independent ones and representing a number of international structures which Belarus is a member of. In the opinion of the majority of the observers, particularly that of the Commonwealth of Independent States observation mission, the electoral campaign and the elections themselves were conducted in compliance with the electoral code currently in force and Belarus international commitments on conducting democratic elections, notwithstanding the unprecedented outside pressure.

Guided by the principle of openness and the 1990 OSCE Copenhagen document, Belarus had also invited in advance the OSCE ODIHR and OSCE Parliamentary Assembly to observe the presidential elections. Despite the serious complaints with regard to the ODIHR objectivity and working methods previously made with our involvement by a whole number of the OSCE participating states, the Belarusian authorities provided for the constructive cooperation with the OSCE mission and created all the necessary conditions for its activities.

By inviting the OSCE mission, the Belarusian side sought once more to make sure whether the OSCE ODIHR was capable of approaching its work responsibly and professionally, and make an objective assessment of the elections.

The OSCE monitoring mission activities in Belarus have once again demonstrated that the ODIHR is an instrument for pronouncing of verdicts formulated in advance from outside.

The Belarusian side does not agree with the preliminary conclusions and findings of the OSCE mission on monitoring the presidential elections in Belarus. They distort the reality and do not take into account the open and democratic character of the elections process in Belarus.

The numerous serious and systemic shortcomings in the ODIHR methods are on the surface: neglect of the opinion of their own observers members of the mission while formulating the findings and conclusions; usage of non-verified or exclusively negative information in their work; violation by the OSCE observers of their status, their own procedural rules and established criteria for formation of monitoring missions.

The OSCE mission work has proved that there is a critical necessity in reforming the OSCE ODIHR activities in the sphere of elections monitoring, as Belarus has repeatedly stated within the OSCE framework.

Without conducting a comparative analysis of electoral legislation and practices of all participating states, improving the OSCE ODIHR monitoring methodology, as well as elaborating uniform criteria for election assessment and formation of ODIHR missions, the ODIHR subsequent activities in the elections sphere will only contribute to creation of tension in the OSCE area.

Belarus is about to send to the Chairman-in-Office and the ODIHR Director its detailed critical remarks and proposals with regard to the ODIHR activities. We expect that they will be taken into account in the report to be submitted to the OSCE Council of Ministers of Foreign Affairs scheduled for December 2006 in Brussels, as well as in concrete decisions by the participating states on reform of this OSCE institute.

Belarus also regrets that the ODIHR distorted conclusions were prematurely used by representatives of certain states and international organizations in their statements made on the verge of interfering into the Belarusian internal affairs. This fact only proves that they had prejudged the elections results well in advance of their actual conducting.

Minsk, March 22, 2006