The European Union urged the Belarusian authorities to release all arbitrarily detained political activists and expressed concern about the exclusion of candidates from the electoral process before the presidential election. About it reports the European external action service at the end of a special meeting of EU officials and representatives of the Belarusian authorities, which was held in Brussels on 23 July.
“Discussions focused on the situation of human rights and democracy in the context of the upcoming presidential elections in Belarus. EU once again expressed their concern regarding non-compliance with fundamental freedoms by Belarus and arbitrary exclusion of candidates from the electoral process. The EU called on Belarus to release all arbitrarily detained political activists, to provide them access to a lawyer and to conduct a fair, impartial and transparent investigation”, – said in a statement.
The presidential elections are to be held on 9 August. The CEC registered five candidates: incumbent President Alexander Lukashenko, Svetlana Tikhanovski, wife, blogger Sergei Tikhanovski, arrested before the start of the campaign, co-chair of the Association “Tell the truth” Andrei Dmitriev, ex-Deputy Anna Konopacky and the leader of the Belarusian social-democratic party Sergei Cerecere.
In addition, the CEC refused to register two opposition candidates, former banker Victor Babariko and ex-diplomat Valery Tsepkalo (Babariko called the main rival of Lukashenko, having chances to win, but in June, he was accused of financial crimes and arrested).