Belarus elections: a parliament with no opposition

The two remaining opposition members in Belarus's parliament were voted out in Sunday's general election, leaving the lower house entirely to members of parties close to President Lukashenko. The opposition complains that its candidates have been excluded, and OSCE observers have criticised the use of intimidation tactics and a lack of respect for democratic obligations. European media are sobered by the outcome.

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Novaya Gazeta (RU) /

Same procedure as always

Novaya Gazeta describes with a note of sarcasm how Belarusian elections work:

“Firstly, the people decide not to go out and vote on a massive scale, even though the school canteens [where many polling stations are set up] are serving beer and vodka that day. Secondly: since Belarus has not had a real election for a long time and the lists of future deputies are determined in advance, everyone knows who will be appointed as the deputy for their constituency. ... And thirdly, Belarusian elections haven't been recognised by the OSCE, the EU or the US since 1996. ... But the Election Commission is always happy to point out that the elections were under international observation. This is the way it has been done for 23 years now.”

Deutschlandfunk (DE) /

Pressure from Brussels counterproductive

It would be useless to rashly reimpose the sanctions that were lifted in 2016, argues Deutschlandfunk:

“Nobody can want the collapse of this small country in the middle of Europe. It would only drive Lukashenko deeper into the arms of Russia. This year Moscow has intensified its efforts to bind its partner to itself and even to turn it into a federal state. Sooner or later Belarus would lose its independence in this process - a scenario that is currently being prevented mainly by Lukashenko, who simply doesn't want to lose his personal power to Moscow. So at the moment the West can do little to make Belarus more democratic, however painful that may be.”

Denik (CZ) /

A warning for the Czech Republic

Despite their dissatisfaction with their own government the Czechs should count themselves lucky, Denik puts in:

“The parliamentary elections that took place in Belarus on Sunday are a good example of what could happen here if the majority fails to defend our democracy. The opposition failed to secure a single one of the 110 seats in parliament. ... What's more, Lukashenko will also win next year's presidential elections hands down. Despite Prime Minister Babiš, his wealth and his media clout, we in the Czech Republic are still lucky enough to have free elections and the rule of law. Unlike Lukashenko, Babiš can still be defeated in elections. And what we should be clear on is that we're the only ones who can achieve this. We, the citizens and voters.”