Minsk. Many citizens in Belarus do not want to accept the official result of Sunday’s presidential election. Opposition candidate Tichanovskaya also refuses to request a recount. Again there are protests.
Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko has threatened protesters in the face of protests against his official victory in the presidential election. Those who contest the election result would be dealing with tough crackdown on the authorities, Lukashenko said on Monday. The election commission certified 80 percent of the votes cast on Monday for the autocrat, who has ruled for 26 years. Opposition candidate Svetlana Tichanovskaya received ten percent. She requested a recount.
She rejected the official figures. “We don’t accept these results,” she said. “According to the data we received from the districts, we won and that is in line with what we saw in the polling stations.”
Opposition supporters protested again in downtown Minsk on Monday evening. They chanted “Freedom!” And “Long live Belarus!”. Many police forces were stationed. Already on Sunday evening, after trend reports became known, thousands took to the streets in several cities suspecting election fraud. There were clashes with the police, injuries and arrests. According to activists, one person was killed when they were run over by a police car. The authorities denied that.
The EU condemned the police action. She demanded the immediate release of those arrested. The Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki also called for an extraordinary EU summit to discuss the situation in Belarus.
The human rights organization Vyasna said more than 200 people had been arrested, the Ministry of the Interior of around 3,000. In addition, 89 people were injured, including 39 security forces, the ministry said.
Lukashenko, 65, said the opposition was led by Poland and the Czech Republic. The Czech Foreign Minister Tomas Petricek rejected this. Some groups in Ukraine and Russia may also have been involved in the protests, said Lukashenko. The 37-year-old Tichanowskaja and her election campaign team are “sheep” that are manipulated from abroad.
Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin congratulated Lukashenko on his election victory. Likewise, China’s head of state Xi Jinping, who predicted Belarus a “brilliant success in state-building”.
The German government, however, stated that the minimum standards for democratic elections had obviously not been observed in Belarus. Reports of systematic irregularities are credible, said government spokesman Steffen Seibert.
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