The United Nations' special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Belarus, Miklos Haraszti, has said there was no real difference between the September 11 parliamentary elections and all the previous ones carried out in the country.
In a September 15 statement, Haraszti commended the "somewhat extended opportunities allowed for candidates to hold their meetings," and welcomed the elections of two opposition figures -- the first opposition candidates to win seats in 20 years.
But citing reports of "intimidation, fraud, manipulations, and opacity," he added that citizens' right to a free and fair election "continued to be abused in the grip of entrenched repressive laws and institutions."
"The smooth-looking conduct" of the elections "should not eclipse the underlying systemic violations," Haraszti also said.
"The elections proved a clear lack of political will to promote and protect human rights in Belarus."