Foreign Minister Westerwelle issued the following statement today (24 September) on the elections in the Republic of Belarus:
The aim of the elections, namely to lend President Lukashenko’s regime the appearance of democratic legitimacy, has obviously failed. In view of the gross violations which also took place during these elections, it is clear to everyone what Belarus is today: the last dictatorship in the heart of Europe. We will continue to work together with our European partners and even step up our efforts to press for the release of political prisoners, strengthen Belarusian civil society and further isolate Lukashenko and his regime.
Matteo Mecacci, the Special Co‑ordinator to lead the OSCE short-term election observer mission, underlined in Minsk today that the elections were not free or impartial and that there had been massive rigging.