The German government on Monday said it had “strong doubts — and from our point of view justified doubts — about the conduct of the elections in Belarus.”
Government spokesman Steffen Seibert told a press conference that “minimum standards for democratic elections were not met” and this was “not acceptable.” He said the European Union was discussing how to react.
A spokesman for Germany’s Foreign Ministry said the elections “must be seen as a setback.”
He added that the ministry had observed massive repression and arbitrary arrests in the run-up to the elections, and that the government used a “policy of intimidation” targeting journalists and bloggers.
Manuel Sarrazin, a Green party politician and a member of German parliament’s foreign affairs committee, told DW that the election result was more “fake” than previous ones.
“It’s quite obvious that, for the past 25 years, we haven’t seen free and fair elections in Belarus at all,” Sarrazin said. “But I think no election has been as fake as this one.”
He also accused the EU and Germany of “being too soft in [their] approach to Lukashenko.”
“The European Union has to take a stance and we also have to be clear that, with this person in power, an openness of the European Union will not be possible,” Sarrazin said.
“Our only partner [in Belarus] can be the democratic opposition and the democratic movement in the country.”
Sunday’s presidential election saw Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko win a sixth term with 80% of the vote, according to the nation’s Central Electoral Commission. His opponents have claimed that the result was rigged in his favor.
The poll had no independent observers president. the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), which observes elections on the continent, did not receive a timely invitation.
The result has sparked mass protests in the country, including a demonstration in capital Minsk that drew around 5,000 people. Police used stun grenades, water cannons and rubber bullets to break up the protests.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen called for Belarus to publish accurate results.
dv/rt (AFP, dpa, Reuters)