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EU must discuss sanctions after Belarus election - Germany

BERLIN (Reuters) - German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said on Monday the European Union must discuss sanctions against Belarus after Alexander Lukashenko was declared winner of a presidential election that the opposition described as rigged.

The EU had lifted sanctions because the country had taken steps in the right direction, including releasing political prisoners, Maas said in Berlin.

“We must now discuss in the EU whether this still applies in the light of the past week and the past days,” he added, echoing comments from Poland.

Maas’ ministry earlier said there were numerous indications of fraud in the election.

Belarus’ central election commission said Lukashenko, in power for more than a quarter of a century, won 80% of the vote in Sunday’s election, while Svetlana Tikhanouskaya, who emerged from obscurity to become his main rival, took 9.9%.

Reporting by Reuters TV; Writing by Thomas Seythal; Editing by Alison Williams