U.S. Slams Belarus' "Sham" Elections

Written by Camilla Jessen

Feb.26 - 2024 8:29 AM CET

Photo: Asatur Yesayants / Shutterstock.com
Photo: Asatur Yesayants / Shutterstock.com
The U.S. State Department criticized the recent parliamentary elections in Belarus, labeling them as fraudulent.

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Spokesperson Matthew Miller expressed on X, "We condemn the sham parliamentary elections today in Belarus. Impossible to hold free and fair elections in a climate of fear and with 1400+ political prisoners. We support the democratic aspirations of the Belarusian people."

The elections took place on February 25, under scrutiny for not allowing genuine democratic participation.

Belarus, led by Alexander Lukashenko, held these elections amidst opposition calls for a boycott. Lukashenko, known for his authoritarian rule, has been accused of using elections to maintain his power rather than facilitate democracy.

Opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya urged Belarusians to ignore the elections, which she termed a "senseless farce." Only pro-Lukashenko parties participated, with real opposition absent from the ballots.

Despite claims of a 73% voter turnout, the credibility of these elections has been widely disputed. Tsikhanouskaya thanked international supporters for condemning the elections, dismissing them as a "circus" that won't legitimize Lukashenko's rule.

Lukashenko, in power since 1994, has announced plans to run again in 2025. His long tenure has been marked by election rigging and oppression of dissent. Belarus faces significant repression, with the human rights group Viasna reporting over 1,430 political prisoners suffering abuses.

The 2020 presidential election, claimed by Lukashenko, sparked nationwide protests against his disputed victory. Tsikhanouskaya, leading the democratic opposition from exile, asserts she won 60% of the vote.

Additionally, Lukashenko's alliance with Russia and support for the invasion of Ukraine highlight Belarus's role in regional instability, including serving as a launchpad for Russian military actions.