Belarus’ Central Electoral Commission will today announce the official final results of the August 9 presidential election following nationwide protests
Belarus’ Central Electoral Commission will today announce the official final results of the August 9 presidential election following nationwide protests over alleged vote-rigging.
Based on preliminary results, incumbent President Alexander Lukashenko was declared victorious with nearly 80% of the vote; this widely disputed outcome has sparked nation-wide demonstrations fuelled by accusations of electoral irregularities. Critics have cited numerous red flags throughout the duration of the campaign, such as the frequency with which activists were detained, the recent crackdown on growing bands of political dissidents, and a record-high early vote count, all of which are likely markers of ballot stuffing.
Lukashenko’s regime has lashed out at its opponents since election night—internet access has been widely disrupted and authorities have violently dispersed demonstrations. Although the Belarusian opposition is unlikely to dislodge Lukashenko, recent rallies have experienced the largest popular participation since the dissolution of the Soviet Union, signalling a general resentment of the status quo. The main opposition candidate, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, has refused to accept the results, and claimed victory in Lukashenko’s stead while calling for a peaceful transition of power.
The Electoral Commission will almost certainly confirm Lukashenko’s reelection. However, given rising international pressure, economic woes, a botched COVID-19 response and a clear decline in popularity—induced by fatigue from his 26-year rule—Lukashenko’s ability to effectively maintain control will likely face serious challenges from the electorate in the weeks ahead.
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