"But I think no election has been as fake as this one.". An audio recording from another polling station in Vitebsk was posted on YouTube in which poll workers are heard being told by an official to falsify the results in favor of Lukashenko. The Central Election Commission in Belarus said there was 79 percent turnout by 6pm CET (5pm BST). Belarusians have gone to the polls in presidential elections that have prompted the country’s largest opposition rallies since the fall of the Soviet Union. “For the next few days, we were all very severely depressed,” the 29-year-old said Friday. He's the longest-serving president in Europe, and EU media have referred to him as "Europe's last dictator.". The vote in Belarus earlier this month, in which longtime President Alexander Lukashenko claimed an overwhelming victory amid accusations of massive election fraud, … The results of the Aug. 9 polls handed Lukashenko his sixth term with 80% of the vote, while the opposition candidate with the most support received 10%. Mass protests have rocked Belarus, a former Soviet republic in eastern Europe, since official results from the Aug. 9 presidential election gave Lukashenko a landslide victory over his widely popular opponent, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya. The head of the election commission Lidia Yermoshina called on … We use cookies to improve our service for you. There is no independent election observation in Belarus. (I said,) ‘Allow me to recount these ballots,’ and they refused. Protesters and riot police have clashed in Belarus's capital Minsk and other cities, after a state TV exit poll said long-time leader Alexander Lukashenko was re-elected in Sunday's election. “The elections were neither fair nor free and therefore one cannot recognize the result of the elections… Valeria Artikhovskaya, who worked at a polling station in Minsk, said she still doesn’t know the official results of the vote at her precinct because they were never released. Privacy Policy | DW's Moscow correspondent Emily Sherwin said it was "very rare for people to protest in Belarus at all." Belarus authorities have been targeting the media ahead of Sunday's election. The 20-year-old student said his colleagues told him later that the number of votes for Tsikhanouskaya at the precinct was five times higher than what Lukashenko received there. But Gnidenko says he and other workers counted over 250 ballots for Tsikhanouskaya. I didn’t sign the protocol and left the precinct,” the 30-year-old told the AP on Friday. However, the final date was set during an extraordinary session of the National Assembly of Belarus on September 14, 2010.. Of the ten candidates, incumbent President Alexander Lukashenko was declared the winner by the Central Election Commission with 79.67% of the votes. Another worker who pointed out violations during the vote-counting was fired on the spot. At a news conference Monday, Tikhanovskaya rejected the results. The National Assembly(Нацыянальны сход, Nacyyanal'ny skhod) has two chambers. At least one person has been killed and dozens injured in the clashes between police and protesters, while 300 people have been detained nationwide, according to the Viasna human rights group. Exit polls on Sunday sparked protests throughout the country — with opponents saying the vote was rigged. There is no other name I can call it,” Korzykov said in a phone interview on Wednesday. In the three weeks since the election that kept President Alexander Lukashenko in power, hundreds of thousands of people have protested what they say was a rigged outcome. The longtime president has often advocated for closer ties with Russia, which has reflected in his largely successful economic policies. “Most complaints are about final protocols not being put out (for the public),” said Galina Mkrtychyan, head of the commission’s legal department. The long-time leader of Belarus, President Alexander Lukashenko, appears set to declare a landslide victory in an election that saw his toughest opposition challenge in years. A man casts his ballot at a polling station during the presidential election in Minsk, Belarus, on Sunday. ", "It's quite obvious that, for the past 25 years, we haven't seen free and fair elections in Belarus at all," Sarrazin said. But there have been several disputes with Russia over energy shipments in recent years, and Lukashenko has accused Moscow of interfering with elections, including the one on Sunday. He has a … Voting process in the Republic of Belarus. Lukashenko has been in office since Belarus established the role in 1994 — three years after declaring independence from the Soviet Union. People will not forgive what happened,” Znak said. Some 5,000 protesters in Minsk took to the streets to protest Lukashenko's election win, clashing with police into the early hours of Monday morning. The U.S., France, Germany and Poland have called on Belarus to ensure free and fair elections, but analysts say that’s unlikely to happen and expect Lukashenko to … Severe restrictions on ballot access for candidates, prohibition of local independent observers at polling stations, intimidation tactics employed against opposition candidates, and the detentions of peaceful protesters and journalists marred the process. Belarus Votes For President Read our coverage as Belarusians take to the streets to demand the resignation of President Alyaksandr Lukashenka and call for new elections after official results … (AP Photo/Sergei Grits, File), Connect with the definitive source for global and local news. The president is elected for a five-year term by the people. On … Maxim Znak, a lawyer and a member of the Coordination Council, which was set up after the election by the opposition to try to negotiate a transition of power with the Lukashenko government, said the court didn’t even look at 26 folders of evidence from Tsikhanouskaya’s allies. The opposition has boycotted a series of recent elections. At the same time, 11% of the poll participants trust the Central Election Commission. Most independent polling is illegal in Belarus, although a poll ordered by Belarusian state television has projected Lukashenko to win in a landslide. The largest anti-government protests in the history of Belarus, the demonstrations began in the lead-up to and during the 2020 presidential election, in which Lukashenko sought his sixth term in office. “Massive” rights abuses and torture in Belarus have been condemned by an election-monitoring organisation with calls for a rerun of the country’s August presidential polls … This year's presidential election did not have any independent election observers present as the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), which observes elections on the continent, was not invited. According to preliminary results announced by Belarus' Central Election Commission, Lukashenko took 80% of the vote, with Tikhanovskaya coming in … The Associated Press interviewed election workers who said they saw ballot fraud or were pressured to falsify results in favor of Lukashenko. “We know that people will not forget about this. The old Belarus flag, symbol of … FILE - In this Aug. 9, 2020, file photo, a woman casts her ballot at a polling station during the presidential election in Minsk, Belarus, Sunday, Aug. 9, 2020. Vadim Korzykov, who worked at another Minsk polling station, told AP he didn’t even get to the signing stage -- a senior poll worker dismissed him after he pointed out violations during the count. When elections for national leadership lose their legitimacy, chaos can be unleashed. Artikhovskaya said she was asked to sign the final protocol — a document summing up the vote totals each precinct must display after counting the ballots — before voting even ended, with the totals left blank. Follow AP’s coverage of Belarus at https://www.apnews.com/Belarus, FILE - In this Aug. 9, 2020, file photo, a woman casts her ballot at a polling station during the presidential election in Minsk, Belarus, Sunday, Aug. 9, 2020. President Lukashenko has refused to rule out holding fresh elections in an interview with Russian media. When the time came to sign the protocol late at night, everyone was exhausted, and a crowd of residents had gathered outside the polling station, demanding to see the results. News Belarus: Lukashenko hints at new elections after constitutional change. Some of the workers later confirmed to Belarusian media the authenticity of the recording, which has received over 450,000 hits on YouTube. "I consider myself the winner of this election.". © 2020 Deutsche Welle | Riot police detain a group of demonstrators during a protest after polls closed in Belarus' presidential election, in Minsk on August 9, 2020. She and her supporters refused to recognize the result, saying the vote was riddled with fraud. The protests began after an official exit poll showed that Lukashenko won Sunday's presidential election with 79.7% of the vote, securing a sixth term in office. Alexander Khomich, a spokesman for the activist group Honest People that monitored the election, said Tsikhanouskaya got significantly more votes and Lukashenko got significantly fewer votes. Both the U.S. and the European Union have called the election neither free nor fair, and EU foreign ministers are preparing sanctions against senior Belarus officials suspected of election fraud and the subsequent crackdown on protesters. Usually protesters immediately get arrested, she said and "we've been seeing up to 60,000 people gathering in support of Svetlana Tikhanovskaya so in a sense that really doesn't add up with the numbers that we've now seen in the poll. This time, it trained people to be independent monitors at polling stations, it encouraged poll workers to report violations, and it set up a website where voters could submit photos of their marked ballots to compare with the official count. “For each of those polling stations where people know that they have voted in one way and official results are different, they continue to fight for their votes. But activists believe the legal battle is far from over. “My conscience is dearer to me.”. Send Facebook Twitter reddit EMail Facebook Messenger Web Whatsapp Web Telegram linkedin. She had managed to unite fractured opposition groups, channeling the growing frustration over the country’s weak economy and Lukashenko’s swaggering dismissal of the coronavirus pandemic. Tikhanouskaya emerged as the top candidates to upset Lukashenko, with her rallies drawing tens of thousands. The results were not recognized by the four candidates on the ballot with Lukashenko. In Belarus, the presidential election of August 1, 2020 has been challenged as … ", In response to initial exit polls on Sunday, Tikhanouskaya said she did not trust the official figures, insisting "the majority is with us. ", Manuel Sarrazin, a member of German parliament's foreign affairs committee, told DW that it's clear that the election was "fake. In the small city of Vitebsk, a poll worker signed a document with falsified results in favor of President Alexander Lukashenko and later was wracked with guilt for betraying the trust of the voters. The report said that they studied just under one-fourth of the nation’s precincts and found that Tsikhanouskaya received over 471,000 votes in those areas alone. They go to the police. In addition, other evidence has been posted online showing falsifications and other irregularities. Belarus elects on national level a head of state- the president- and a legislature. “I decided that since I betrayed the Belarusian people, since I took part in this rigging and put my signature on it, it was my duty to honestly tell it (to the public).”. The president's opponents have claimed that the election result was rigged in his favor. According to a poll conducted back in March–April 2020 by the Institute of Sociology of the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus, the level of trust of current Lukashenko in the capital city of Belarus is 24%. Belarus election: Lukashenko's claim of landslide victory sparks widespread protests This article is more than 3 months old Riot police deployed in … “They did not investigate this evidence, they didn’t check anything, they didn’t call witnesses. In the three weeks since the election that kept President Alexander Lukashenko in power, hundreds of thousands of people have protested what they say was a rigged outcome. The 2020 Belarusian protests are a series of ongoing political demonstrations and protests against the Belarusian government and President Alexander Lukashenko. According to the final protocol from the station, a photo of which Gnidenko showed AP, Tsikhanouskaya got a total of 156 votes, while Lukashenko received 488. The official suggests that poll workers “swap the numbers” for Lukashenko and Tsikhanouskaya. The Central Election Commission has refused all the candidates’ requests for a recount, and Lukashenko bristled at demands to rerun the vote. Gnidenko felt sorry for everyone and decided to get it over with, a decision he now regrets. However, the main challenger has rejected the results and demanded that President Lukashenko "hand over power." Belarus election campaign has unexpected sideshow: Spat with Russia over alleged interference Belarus’s president looks for his sixth election victory on Sunday. Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko has won a sixth term as president with 80% of the vote, according to preliminary results cited by the Central Election Commission Monday. Voters and independent monitors are submitting individual complaints and demanding that law enforcement agencies investigate rigging in their precincts, Znak said. “It was a travesty of justice. | Mobile version, Mass protests erupted in cities across the country, accused Moscow of interfering with elections. She decided to run after her husband, imprisoned blogger and activist Sergei Tikhanovsky, was barred from doing so. “I’m prepared to agree that a lot of people voted for Tsikhanouskaya … but we have other goals and other problems we need to solve,” the official says. The Belarusian Interior Ministry said police had made 3,000 arrests. To many in Belarus, where Lukashenko has ruled with an iron fist since 1994 and has been accused of rigging previous elections, his victory last month seemed clearly implausible. “I said I wouldn’t sign the protocol because it’s a crime, it’s fraud. Mass protests erupted in cities across the country, including the capital, Minsk, after official exit polls showed Lukashenko was on course for reelection. (Redirected from Belarusian presidential election, 2015) Presidential elections were held in Belarus on 11 October 2015. Artikhovskaya refused, and once the count started, she noticed other poll workers putting ballots for different candidates into a stack for Lukashenko. After some back and forth, poll workers swap the results. Contact In the three weeks since the election that kept Lukashenko in power with a landslide win, hundreds of thousands of people have protested what they say was a rigged outcome. Belarus election challenger asks Lukashenko to quit amid protests. In comments to the AP on Thursday, the commission again rejected the accusations of widespread rigging, saying complaints it received from monitors and voters mostly pointed to procedural violations. Long-term president Alexander Lukashenko ran for his fifth term in office, having won every presidential election since independence in 1991. Precinct election commissions notify voters of the time and place of voting not later than 10 days before the elections. Reflecting on Eastern Europe’s recent history, it’s easy to draw a parallel between Ukraine’s 2004 Orange Revolution in protest of perceived rigged elections and today’s protests in Minsk. News Belarus protests: Lukashenko raises prospect of fresh elections. The headline of this article was changed to reflect the preliminary results came from the only official source. Presidential elections were held in Belarus on 19 December 2010. "The authorities should think about how to peacefully hand over power to us," she said. Belarus – sometimes called “Europe’s last dictatorship” – has choreographed elections and minimal space for political dissent, with periodic violent crackdowns on opposition. You can find more information in our data protection declaration. He was re-elected with 84% of the vote, according to official figures. Conversely, no opposition candidates won seats in the 2019 parliamentary elections (which took place … But a recent rise in anti-government protests opened the possibility for the end of the Belarusian strongman's reign. Legal notice | Police clash with protesters for a second evening as President Alexander Lukashenko declares victory in disputed polls. Activists monitoring the election said in a report that they received complaints about violations, irregularities and incidents of some form of vote-rigging from at least 24% of the country’s 5,767 precincts. Experts even predicted questionable election results in Belarus, but the future of the last dictatorship in Europe currently is uncertain. An exit poll among the Moscow-based Belarusian expats showed 78.5% voting for Tsikhanouskaya and only 6% for Lukashenko – a reverse result to the one published by the state media in Belarus. The opposition was prepared for such an outcome — allegations of rigged elections have surfaced in every vote in Belarus since Lukashenko took power in 1994. They just said that’s not possible,” he told AP. But President Lukashenko is just trying to save himself, says DW's Konstantin Eggert. Opposition parties have fought for years to unseat Lukashenko, and couldn't agree on a candidate to support in this year's election. They ask to start a criminal investigation,” he added. The Belarus Supreme Court last week refused to overturn the vote, saying it could not rule after election authorities declared it valid. MINSK, Belarus (AP) — Even before the Aug. 9 presidential election in Belarus ended, a poll worker in Minsk said she was asked to sign a document summing up its result, with the vote totals left blank. Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko has won a sixth term as president with 80% of the vote, according to preliminary results cited by the Central Election Commission Monday. Officers used stun and flash grenades to break up the demonstrations, according to DW correspondents in Minsk . Polls open at 8 a.m. and close at 8 p.m. on election day. When the results were announced, however, the Central Election Commission said Lukashenko won 4.6 million votes, or 80%, and Tsikhanouskaya got only 588,000, or 10%. Artikhovskaya, the Minsk poll worker, did just that last week, submitting a formal complaint to the prosecutor’s office about the rigging she saw. Turnout for the election was put at 84%. The election was originally planned for the beginning of 2011. The United States is deeply concerned about the conduct of the August 9 presidential election in Belarus, which was not free and fair. In 2016 parliamentary polls, two opposition candidates – Alena Anisim and Hanna Kanapatskaya – won seats, despite the elections being widely judged as neither free nor fair. Andrei Gnidenko, who worked at a poll in Vitebsk, a small city in northeastern Belarus, said he gave in to the pressure and signed a document with falsified results. “Given the manner in which the vote has been rigged, I can vouch that no one — not us, not the Central Election Commission — knows the real result of the election,” Khomich told the AP. DW's Minsk-based freelance journalist Alexander Burakov has been sentenced to 10 days in prison after being arrested on Wednesday night. Belarusians are voting on whether to … Belarus stunned Moscow by arresting a group of Russian mercenaries, accusing them of destabilizing the country's political situation. Why a stolen election in Belarus matters to America and the world Thousands of protesters, including women and children, continue to lock arms in protest of what was a rigged election. The other three candidates received less than 2% of the vote. Demonstrations and strikes in the country have been met by a police crackdown including mass detentions, beatings and criminal charges against organizers. Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, a 37-year-old former English teacher who emerged as Lukashenko's chief opponent, won 9.9% of the vote, the election commission reported. For the past twenty-six years of its post-Soviet history, Belarus, controlled by Alexander Lukashenko, has seen many affronts to justice and the rule of law – from politically motivated murders to routine falsifications of voting protocols and figures. 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