MINSK (Reuters) - Belarus's presidential election fell short of democratic standards, international monitors said on Monday, after President Alexander Lukashenko won a fifth term in a vote that was hoped could lead to an easing of relations with the West.
"It is clear that Belarus still has a long way to go towards fulfilling its democratic commitments," said Kent Hasted, head of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe's observer mission for the Belarusian election.
"The recent release of political prisoners and a welcoming approach to observers were positive developments. However, the hope that this gave us for broader electoral progress was largely unfulfilled."
(Reporting by Andrei Makhovsky; Writing by Alessandra Prentice; Editing by Janet Lawrence)