Declaration by the Presidency on behalf of the EU on preelection situation in Belarus

The European Union is very concerned about the situation in the run-up to the 19 March. Presidential elections in Belarus and the continuing deterioration of the human rights  situation in the country. Therefore, the European Union calls on the Belarusian authorities to take all necessary steps in order to assure a free and fair electoral process.

The European Union welcomes the emergence of democratically selected politicians in  Belarusian civil society who are determined to give their fellow citizens an alternative  choice for the future of their country. The European Union is dismayed by reports of serious violations of candidates’ campaigning rights in the run-up to the Presidential elections, and the intimidation, detention and violence against one candidate in particular, as occurred on 2 March 2006. Detention of campaign activists, searches of campaign offices, confiscation of campaign materials and interruption of campaign meetings were documented in the interim report of the OSCE/ODIHR election observation mission of 1 March 2006. The European Union firmly condemns these acts and once again calls on the Belarusian authorities to abide by international standards and Belarus' commitments in the OSCE and the UN frameworks to ensure equal campaigning rights for all candidates.