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Washington says ‘disappointed’ by Belarus presidential election

October 13, 2015, 1:21 UTC+3 WASHINGTON
The US Department of State said this was shown by reports from the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights and Parliamentary Assembly election observation missions
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WASHINGTON, October 13. /TASS/. The US Department of State has welcomed Sunday’s presidential election in Belarus but also expressed disappointment saying Minsk failed to meet commitments for free and fair polls.

"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," the statement said on Monday.

The US Department of State said this was shown by reports from the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights and Parliamentary Assembly election observation missions.

"These reports noted serious problems with the counting and tabulation of votes, the composition of territorial and precinct election commissions, as well as a lack of fundamental reform to Belarus’ flawed legal framework governing elections," the statement reads.

The US welcomed "the participation of opposition political parties and independent media" in the election. "A free and vibrant media, space for civil society organizations and opposition parties to operate, and full access for international and domestic election observers are essential to ensuring free and fair elections."

However, it said "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."

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, 61, won a fifth consecutive term in power on Sunday with a landslide 83.49% of the vote, according to the preliminary results announced by the country’s Central Election Commission.

Other candidates for president were leader of the Liberal Democratic Party Sergei Gaidukevich, leader of the Belarusian Patriotic Party Nikolai Ulakhovich, and activist of the Tell the Truth campaign Tatiana Korotkevich, the only female candidate.

The voter turnout was 87.92% The final results will be announced on Friday.

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