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Zelenskiy Says Fresh Election In Belarus With Observers Would Calm Political Crisis

August 23, 2020

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy says that, if he were in Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka's place, he would call fresh elections in one month with international observers present.

"Let's imagine that I am confident about myself, I am confident in the people's vote, that I am a confident person. How can I calm everyone down?" Zelenskiy said.

"I would definitely say: 'In one month there will be a new vote. And I am running for the new election. Whoever wants to run -- go ahead!'"

He added that he would invite in "all international observers."

Euronews released excerpts of the interview on August 23 ahead of the broadcast of the full interview on August 25.

The Ukrainian leader's remarks came after the European Union and other Western countries said they did not recognize the result of an August 9 presidential election giving Lukashenka 80 percent of the vote.

Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya, the main opposition candidate, has claimed that she was the true winner. She has since departed for Lithuania, saying she fears for her safety, amid mass protests in Minsk and other cities.

Zelenskiy said any candidate should be allowed to run in a repeat election.

"I'd tell the people of Belarus: 'Please, elect whoever you want,'" he said. "And after that result, there would be no more questions. I'm convinced about it."

It would be a way to avoid bloodshed, he said and would "be fair and would make history."

Based on reporting by Euronews

Source: https://www.rferl.org/a/zelenskiy -fresh-election-belarus-observers-calm- political-crisis/30798607.html

Copyright (c) 2020. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.



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