Lukashenka: Parliamentary elections should be held in democratic atmosphere

Mr. Lukashenka reportedly warned that no numerical restrictions should be placed on foreign observers.

 
This year's parliamentary elections should be held in a «democratic and calm atmosphere and, what matters most, at the highest level of organization, as has always been the case in our country,» Alyaksandr Lukashenka said at a government conference in Minsk on April 27.

He said that special attention should be devoted to the establishment of election commissions, which he said should include «worthy» representatives of «worker collectives,» political parties and NGOs, according to the government's news agency BelTA.

Mr. Lukashenka reportedly warned that no numerical restrictions should be placed on foreign observers. After a date is set for the elections for the House of Representatives, the government should formally invite «foreign partners» to monitor the ballot, he said.

Proposals for improving the election process, including those based on recommendations made by the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, were discussed at the conference. «Perhaps, some of them may be implemented now, others [may be implemented] in the future, as the Electoral Code's provisions are adjusted,» Mr. Lukashenka was quoted as saying.

He stressed that authorities should single out international recommendations that could be «taken into account as a matter of priority» and ignore recommendations that «run counter to the Belarusian people's interests.» «One should not forget that in an election campaign we need to be guided by, above all, our own regulations. We should not be dancing to anyone's tune,» he warned.

Belarusian electoral regulations are consistent with international standards and take into account the established rules and traditions of conducting elections in the country, said Mr. Lukashenka. «At least our regulations are no worse than [regulations] in other countries where elections have been recognized by international institutions,» he said.

The House of Representatives elections are to be held no later than September 11.