SOLNECHNOGORSK /outside Moscow/, August 8. /TASS/. Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said she cannot assess the transparency of Belarus’ presidential election before it is actually held, adding that observers from a wide range of countries have been deployed to that country, and therefore, they should assess the electoral process.
"I cannot assess the transparency of the election before it takes place," Zakharova said on Saturday at a meeting with participants of a Russian youth educational forum. "Secondly, there is a mission of observers from a variety of countries whose duty is to evaluate the entire process of elections."
The diplomat recalled that Russia has been calling on the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) along with other international organizations for many years to work out a code and common criteria for assessing the transparency of electoral processes.
"So many men, so many minds. So many political parties, so many discontented or, on the contrary, positive assessments. How can we speak without a clear defined criterion that this was more transparent and that was less transparent or non-transparent at all?" Zakharova added.
Zakharova pointed out that the conclusions of experts and observers should be based on general rules.
"As a foreign ministry, we undoubtedly follow this situation and will give assessments relying on the observers’ work. But this will be done after the election," Zakharova concluded.
A presidential election will be held in Belarus on August 9. On August 4, an early vote kicked off, which will last until August 8. Five candidates are running for the top post - incumbent President Alexander Lukashenko, Co-Chairman of the Tell the Truth public movement Andrei Dmitriyev, former lawmaker Anna Kanopatskaya, Belarusian activist Svetlana Tikhanovskaya and Chairman of the Belarusian Social-Democratic Party Gramada Sergei Cherechen. Two more applicants, Valery Tsepkalo and Viktor Babariko, who is currently under arrest, were denied registration.