Local elections in Belarus, which took place on 18 February, were an opportunity to enhance the legitimacy of local representatives in the country; however, a number of key recommendations made and systemic shortcomings identified by the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe's (OSCE) Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights and the Council of Europe's Venice Commission following previous elections remained unaddressed.
The European Union continues to expect the Belarusian authorities to, without delay, resume work on a serious and comprehensive reform of the election law and processes. Such a reform should be undertaken as soon as possible ahead of the next elections so as to address the longstanding recommendations and to ensure a level playing field.The reform process should be transparent and inclusive. This would also be an additional step towards reaching the full potential of EU-Belarus relations, building on positive cooperation that has been recently enriched by several local initiatives.
The European Union is ready to assist Belarus in its efforts to bring its election process in line with OSCE commitments and other international standards for democratic elections.