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Home / World / Belarus elections: The protests are the preliminary results that give President Lukashenko an overwhelming victory

Belarus elections: The protests are the preliminary results that give President Lukashenko an overwhelming victory



In the capital Minsk, a live feed from Radio Free Europe shows riot police using tear gas and stun grenades to disperse protesters.

After the polls ended on Sunday, the head of Belarus’s Central Election Commission, Lydia Yermoshina, said on Belarus-1 television that Lukashenko took the lead in five regions with about 82% of votes. elected. Official polls published by state news agency Belta put Lukashenko about 80% of the vote – with his main rival, opposition candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, with about 7%.

Tikhanovskaya, 37, said in a press conference late on Sunday that she disagrees with the results. Her campaign claimed that she won in dozens of polling stations in Minsk at that time.

Monitoring organization Golos said it tally over a million votes and according to its calculations, Tikhanovskaya won 80% of the vote.

Final results will be announced on Monday.

Tikhanovskaya, a former English tutor, became an unexpected rival and rival to the opposition after being abandoned by her husband, Sergey Tikhanovskiy, a popular blogger on YouTube and former candidate. prison since May.

Her election protests have seen a significant number of voters even in small Belarusian towns not known for their protest activity. Some 63,000 people attended the biggest event in Minsk in July ̵

1; the biggest rally in the past decade.

Tikhanovskaya joined forces with two women running other opposition campaigns after their candidates were also barred from running or jailed. Lukashenko dismissed them as “poor girls” in his annual speech in his union speech on Tuesday and said he would not “let the country go.”

Presidential candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya votes in the presidential election in Minsk on August 9, 2020.
The night before the election, Tikhanovskaya’s campaign said she fled her apartment and fled due to safety concerns after police arrested some of the organization’s senior staff. Critics called the move an attempt to intimidate the opposition ahead of the crucial vote. Her adviser, Veronika Tsepkalo, left Belarus for Moscow for safety reasons, the campaign said on Sunday.

Tikhanovskaya’s campaign manager Maria Kolesnikova was also taken to the police station for questioning the eve of the vote. A day earlier, campaign director Maria Moroz was briefly held in custody.

Dubbed the “last dictator of Europe”, Lukashenko has ruled a former Soviet republic with more than 9 million inhabitants since 1994. He has long been criticized internationally for suppressing people. dissidents, and the country’s secret police – still known as the KGB – often arrest and harass opposition activists and independent journalists.

US State Department expresses concern over crackdowns under 'Europe's last dictator'
During the preparations for the election, law enforcement appears to have stepped up its suppression efforts as riot police carried out multiple arrests to disrupt improvised anti-riot protests. back to President. Local media outlets warned of the possibility that the internet could be turned off in case protests broke out across the country.
Considered one of the toughest challenges to Lukashenko’s 26-year rulership, it was the strong Belarusian’s sixth re-election campaign. Thousands of opposition supporters have flocked to the streets in recent weeks to express dissatisfaction with the country’s economic situation, poor coronavirus response, and lack of individual freedom and reform.

According to official data, the poll has seen a large number of voters turn to vote, with the country’s Central Election Commission reporting 65.19% of voters as of Sunday 2pm , according to local time.

However, internet access has been largely restricted and has been completely shut down in central Minsk, according to local reports.

Riot police arrested a group of protesters during a protest after the polls closed in Belarus' presidential election, in Minsk on August 9, 2020.

NetBlocks, a non-governmental organization that tracks internet outages around the world, said in a tweet late Sunday, “Many internet providers in #Belarus have lost their routing as points drop out. The ticket starts to close from 8pm; the geolocated network data confirms that the new disruption has national-scale impact further limiting the visibility of events. “

Most apps and websites take longer to load, including Whatsapp, Viber, and Facebook Messenger. Telegram Messenger, the main communication tool of the Belarusian opposition, is sometimes unavailable or only accessible through a proxy server.

Independent observers in Belarus, such as the “Honest People” volunteer monitoring group, said they also noticed a significant difference between the number of officially announced voters and the number of those who entered. polling points they can count.

Most independent observers have been banned from monitoring the election. Dozens of independent observers were detained on Saturday and early Sunday, under the “Honesty” and “Right to Choose” initiatives.

Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko with his son Nikolai in Moscow.

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe in July said it would not send observers to Belarus because they have not been invited by the country’s authorities.

The Foreign Ministry of France, Germany and Poland said they would monitor the election with “great concern” due to “disturbing reports of election irregularities during the early voting period.” The three countries said that the Council of Europe was also not allowed to oversee the electoral process.

Journalist Mikalai Anishchanka of Minsk and Barbara Wojazer of CNN contributed.


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