Britain calls for a re-run of presidential elections in Belarus

Britain has called for fresh elections in Belarus, following the “despicable” vote-rigging actions of President Alexander Lukashenko.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab highlighted findings by the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) which he said “exposed the fraud at the heart of the presidential elections” in August.

The UK has already imposed sanctions on Mr Lukashenko and his allies following the election and the brutal crackdown on protests which followed.

The Foreign Office said the OSCE report found overwhelming evidence that the elections were falsified and “massive and systematic” human rights violations.

Mr Raab said on Thursday: “We pushed for this independent investigation and it has exposed the fraud at the heart of the presidential elections and the despicable actions taken by Lukashenko’s regime to suppress the Belarusian people.

“New elections which are free and fair must now be organised, and those responsible for the violence against demonstrators held to account.”

Britain has already expressed deep concerns about the conduct of the elections and the repression that followed. In September, the UK imposed sanctions on Mr Lukashenko and senior figures in the Belarusian government under the UK’s new human rights sanctions regime.

The sanctions were in response to the torture and mistreatment of hundreds of peaceful protestors in custody.

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