President Alexander Lukashenko saw his supporters sweep to victory in Belarus’ parliamentary elections over the weekend after opposition parties boycotted the ballot.
While the outcome was hardly a surprise, both international monitors and EU officials back in Brussels were quick to condemn the result.
The EU High Representative’s spokeswoman Maja Kocijancic said: “These elections in a way are another missed opportunity for Belarus. We therefore urge the Belarussian authorities to implement these international standards; their international commitments really and return to the path of democracy and human rights.”
In power since 1994, Lukashenko has ruled Belarus with an iron fist, stifling any opposition. While he and his inner circle remain subject to an EU travel ban and other sanctions, the punitive measures appear to have made little difference to bring Belarus back in from the cold.
For now, however, it remains unclear whether Brussels will toughen its stance against Minsk following this latest result. Much could depend on the regime’s conduct and how it reacts to any opposition or dissent.
To get more insight on the political state of affairs in Belarus, euronews spoke to Olga Stuzhinskaya, the Director of Democratic Belarus, a think-tank based in Brussels. To see the full interview, please click on the video link above.