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Iran Press TV

Lukashenko re-elected Belarus president, opposition cries foul after deadly protests

Iran Press TV

Monday, 10 August 2020 10:09 AM

Alexander Lukashenko has won a sixth term in office as president of Belarus, in a sweeping victory that was announced after violent clashes between police and opposition supporters who say the vote is rigged.

The Belarusian Central Election Commission (CEC) said on Monday that Lukashenko had, according to preliminary results, gained 80.23 percent of the vote in Belarus' presidential election.

Opposition politician Svetlana Tikhanouskaya, the incumbent's main rival, also won 9.9 percent of the vote, according to the commission, which put the turnout at 54 percent.

Opposition rejects results

Tikhanouskaya, however, rejected the results on Monday and said she considered herself the winner.

Speaking to journalists in Minsk, the opposition figure also said the election had been massively rigged, as she had earlier predicted.

Her advisors also called for a vote recount at polling stations where there were irregularities.

The opposition, they added, wanted to hold talks with authorities about how to bring about a peaceful change of power.

The official results were announced after police clashed with opposition demonstrators in Minsk and other cities.

Police reportedly used stun grenades, rubber bullets and tear gas to disperse the protesters, who had taken to the streets after a state TV exit poll said Lukashenko had won Sunday's vote.

The Viasna Human Rights Center announced on Monday that a protester was killed and dozens more were wounded in the skirmishes.

It added that at least 213 people were arrested by police in the crackdown.

Tikhanouskaya emerged from obscurity and stood for election after authorities barred her husband, popular blogger Sergei Tikhanouskaya, from running and then jailed him.

Her campaign posed the biggest challenge in years to Lukashenko, who has ruled the ex-Soviet country of 9.5 million since 1994.

Prior to the vote, Tikhanouskaya's support rallies drew tens of thousands of supporters across the country.

President Lukashenko ordered a crackdown on rare and sustained protests against him during which police detained rivals and dissenters.

He is also facing criticism over his handling of the coronavirus epidemic and an economic crisis in the country.

The president, referred to by some as "Europe's last dictator," has jailed two of his main rivals in the elections, Sergei Tikhanovsky included. Another would-be candidate has fled the country.



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