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European Parliament in session in Strasbourg (file photo) (epa)
April 6, 2006 -- The European Parliament in Strasbourg, France, is expected today to consider a resolution on Belarus following the rejection by the European Union of the country's March 19 presidential election as rigged.
EU leaders next week are expected to consider restrictive measures against authorities responsible for election violations, including President Alyaksandr Lukashenka, who claimed a third term in office with an official tally of 83 percent of the vote.
Speaking on April 5 in Berlin, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov defended the vote as free and fair.
"I believe that the results of the will of the people in Belarus, just like the results of the will of the people in Ukraine during the recent elections there, have to be taken as the main point of reference for the development of relations with those sovereign states, based on noninterference and mutual respect," Lavrov said.
The Belarusian Supreme Court rejected an opposition appeal for the election to be declared invalid due to electoral fraud.
(compiled from agency reports)
Belarusian students studying at an EU-funded university in Vilnius, Lithuania
WATCHING AND WAITING: The European Union repeatedly urged Minsk to conduct a fair and democratic presidential election on March 19. The EU external relations commissioner, Benita Ferrero-Waldner, said in a statement today that the recent arrests of Belarusian opposition figures are "unacceptable" campaign violations. Ferrero-Waldner repeated an EU threat of "targeted sanctions" against top Belarusian officials if the elections are not free and fair. However, the EU will withhold final judgment until March 20, when the bloc's foreign ministers meet in Brussels....(more)
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Click on the image to view a dedicated page with news, analysis, and background information about the Belarusian presidential ballot.
MEET THE CANDIDATES: Read brief biographies of the four candidates in the March 19 election.
Click on the image to view RFE/RL's coverage of the election campaign in Belarusian and to listen to RFE/RL's Belarusian Service.