EU can re-impose Belarus sanctions after presidential election

There are many indications for electoral fraud, German FM says

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said on Monday the European Union must discuss sanctions against Belarus as the opposition in the country described presidential election results as rigged, news wires reported. The EU had lifted sanctions because the country had taken steps in the right direction, including releasing political prisoners. Foreign ministry in Berlin earlier said there were numerous indications of fraud in the election.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen in a tweet on Monday called on the Belarusian authorities to ensure that the votes in Sunday’s election are counted & published accurately. Earlier on the day Polish PM Mateusz Morawiecki proposed an emergency EU summit on the situation to be held.

Belarus’ central election commission announced on Monday that Alexander Lukashenko, in power for more than a quarter of a century, won 80% of the vote in presidential election, while his main rival Svetlana Tikhanouskaya took 9.9%. Protests broke out on the evening in the centre of Minsk, after a new wave of arrests. Thousands of people took to the streets of the capital, according to videos shared on social media, which showed police wearing black masks detaining and hitting people apparently indiscriminately. Officials reportedly used stun grenades, and tear gas, according to witnesses. One demonstrator died from severe injuries after an explosive device detonated in his hand, according to authorities in Minsk.

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