Facts: Belarus, presidential elections 19 December 2010. President Alexander Lukashenko elected for his fourth term, winning 79.65%, What we see, hear and read in the news offline and online is that «Belarus is experiencing the most massive political repressions in its newest history». United Nations called Belarus’ government to ensure that human right defenders, journalist and civil society organizations are free from any harassment.
Since my knowledge about Belarus and its situation is limited, I wanted to know more and asked some questions.
Belarus has a law on the books that makes it illegal to distribute knowingly false information about the country’s political, economic, social, military, or international situation to foreign governments or NGOs with the intent to discredit Belarusian government. So, technically, the government can proclaim any statement different from the official as lies and prosecute the people behind it.
Unlimited right of presidential seat
Lukashenko gained unlimited right of presidency terms by two questionable referenda (1996, 2004). The one in 2004 violated the election code & the constitution; as a result, Lukashenko was allowed to run for the third time and the limit of terms was lifted; Opposition Unlike Venezuela or Iran, the other regimes Belarus is often compared, there is no opposition in the parliament. In fact, there is no ruling party so the majority of the MPs are legally independents (there are a few members of the Communist Party of Belarus, Liberal Democratic Party of Belarus, and a quasi-party Civil Organization “Belaya Rus”). The strange thing is that since there is no ruling party the ideology is very hard to grasp. You can read more about the «governmental philosophy» here.
Regarding media, traditional media who support the opposition are restricted. – Newspapers have restricted circulation, radio station broadcast online. And it is seems common that online platforms are used in order to inform and to be informed about the political situation since the 90s. Posting any information which is against the official statements of the government, incorporates possible dangers for people in Belarus.
Εuropean Parliament on Belarus solution
In a resolutions approved in Parliament’s plenary session on 20 January, MEPs called for sanctions to be taken against Belarusian authorities by imposing a travel ban and asset freeze on Belarusian officials, judges and security officers involved in the violent election crackdown of 19 December 2010. Lifting these measures should be conditional upon the release of imprisoned opposition leaders.
A decision made by the EP during the last week, on the issue of Belarus. The sanctions mentioned above will be in force until political prisoners will be released.
P.S. Special thanx to Denis.