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Washington, D.C. —  U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL), Dick Durbin (D-IL), and Ben Cardin (D-MD) applauded the Senate’s passage of their bipartisan resolution (S.Res.658), which calls for a free, fair, and transparent presidential election in Belarus. Long-term strongman Alyaksandr Lukashenko has ruled Belarus as an undemocratic dictatorship amid a series of flawed elections dating back to 1994. In the most recent 2010 and 2015 presidential elections, Lukashenko arbitrarily disqualified or jailed key opponents in the days preceding the elections. Lukashenko is repeating these actions with this election, which is scheduled to take place on August 9, 2020.

“The world will be watching closely as Belarus holds its presidential election this Sunday,” Rubio said. “I thank my Senate colleagues for passing this important resolution that calls for Belarus to hold a free, fair, and transparent election that adheres to international standards. The U.S. Senate is sending a strong message of support to the people of Belarus.”

“I will never forget visiting in January 2011 with the families of opposition candidates jailed by Lukashenko for having the temerity to run against him in the sham presidential election just the month before,” Durbin said.  “That the Last Dictator of Europe continues to so brazenly rob his people of the basic freedoms enjoyed by the rest of Europe is a tragedy that must be condemned.  Unanimous passage of this resolution shows that the United States Senate stands with the brave people of Belarus in their hopes for a more democratic country.” 

“As the world watches Belarus’ election this weekend, the Senate’s passage of this resolution demonstrates that the U.S. Senate stands with the Belarusian people in saying enough is enough,” Cardin said. “For 26 years, Lukashenko has silenced political opponents, suffocated the freedom of speech, and manipulated elections. He is trying to do this once again, with police arresting more than 1,360 opposition protestors since May. But the Belarusian people deserve what their other European neighbors have: free, fair, and transparent elections.”

According to the United States Department of State 2019 Human Rights country Report on Belarus, Lukashenko has consolidated his rule over all institutions since his first term as president, undermined the rule of law through authoritarian means, including manipulated elections and arbitrary decrees, such that all subsequent presidential elections fell well short of international standards.

The full text of the resolution is here.

Related:

  • July 27, 2020: Rubio joins Durbin and Cardin introducing resolution calling for free, fair, and transparent elections in Belarus