EU comments on referendum in Belarus

According to the statement by EU High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy Josep Borrell, “the Belarusian regime organized a constitutional referendum in a context of widespread human rights violations and its brutal repression against all segments of the Belarusian society.”

“The space for genuine public debate is completely closed off, and there is the widespread use of deliberate disinformation. In addition, huge numbers of Belarusian citizens have been forced into exile,” reads the statement.

Josep Borrel believes that these are not the conditions necessary for a democratic process of constitutional revision.

“Moreover, we have seen massive fraud during the past presidential elections and nothing points to improvements in the electoral system,” he added.

The head of the European diplomacy recalled the interim report of the Venice Commission, which stated that the proposed amendments to the Constitution “give Lukashenko additional tools to further consolidate his power”.

“Furthermore, the deletion of the reference in Article 18 to Belarus’s non-nuclear status is another worrying element. The EU strongly condemns the involvement of Belarus in the ongoing aggression against Ukraine in the strongest possible terms and we will target those in Belarus who collaborate with the Russian military aggression against Ukraine,” reads the statement of Borrell.

It is noted that “the EU continues its strong support to an independent, sovereign and democratic Belarus built on respect for fundamental freedoms and rule of law.”

In Belarus, on February 27, there was a so-called “referendum” on changes to the Constitution. The ballot had only one question: “Do you accept the amendments to the Constitution of the Republic of Belarus? There were two answer options: for and against”.

According to preliminary data of the CEC, 82.86% of voters voted for amendments to the Constitution. On the day of the referendum, about 800 people were detained in Belarus, including at the polling stations.