Statement by Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr Dermot Ahern T.D., on the outcome of the Presidential election in Belarus
“I note with deep regret the preliminary findings of the OSCE's International Election Observer Mission on yesterday's Presidential election in Belarus. The Mission found that, although the registration of four candidates offered voters the potential for a genuine choice, the conduct of the elections failed to meet OSCE commitments for democratic elections; and that the arbitrary use of state power to protect the incumbent President went far beyond acceptable practice.
I particularly deplore the increase in acts of intimidation in the last days of the campaign and the non – admittance of registered OSCE and EU observers, including members of the European Parliament.
The EU is considering very carefully how to proceed. In a first discussion today, EU Foreign Ministers stressed once again that, in considering further measures against the Belarusian authorities responsible for the poor conduct of the elections, they have no wish to target the Belarusian population. The EU will continue to offer strong support for civil society and for democratisation in Belarus.
Ireland, for its part, will continue to work with partners to promote the process of democratic change.”
20 March 2006