Belarus elections 'disappoint' US authorities

  • 13/10/2015
Belarus' President Alexander Lukashenko at a news conference on election night (Reuters)
Belarus' President Alexander Lukashenko at a news conference on election night (Reuters)

The United States says it is "disappointed" by the presidential election in Belarus, claiming it fell short of the former Soviet republic's international commitment to holding polls that are free and fair.

The US State Department said on Monday (local time) international observers had noted "serious problems" with the October 11 vote, which elected strongman Alexander Lukashenko to a fifth term as president by a landslide.

"The United States welcomes the peaceful conduct of the October 11 presidential election in Belarus. However, we are disappointed that the elections fell significantly short of Belarus' international obligations and commitments for free and fair elections," said Mark Toner, the State Department's deputy spokesman.

Among the problems reported by international observers involved the counting and tabulation of votes, the composition of election commissions, and a flawed legal framework governing elections.

"We commend the participation of opposition political parties and independent media, but the inability of international and domestic monitors to observe the vote count, and the almost complete absence of opposition party or independent members on election commissions, are inconsistent with these democratic processes and norms," Toner said.

The 61-year-old Lukashenko, who has been in power since 1994, crushed his nearest rival by taking 83.49 percent of the vote, Belarus election authorities said. Opposition candidate Tatiana Korotkevich won just 4.42 percent.