20 Dec 2010

Belarus president re-elected

Alexander Lukashenko has won a fourth term as the president of Belarus following an election marred by a violent police crackdown on demonstrators and the arrest of opposition challengers.

The state electoral commission said early on Monday that Lukashenko had won 79.7 per cent with 100 per cent of votes counted in the former Soviet republic. It put voter turnout in sub-zero temperatures at more than 90 per cent.


Separately, Russian election observers invited by the Belarus leader ruled that the election was legitimate.
But international observers and western governments accused Belarus' leader of using fraud and violence to remain in power after more than 16 years of repressive rule, saying on Monday that Lukashenko's re-election had been seriously flawed.
US and European leaders have criticized Lukashenko for a wave of violence directed at rival presidential candidates and their supporters in the hours after the election.
The Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) said the count in Sunday's vote was "bad or very bad'' in half the country's precincts.
It also strongly criticised the violent dispersal by riot police of a post-election protest rally.

Lukashenko on Monday bristled at the criticism of how police handled the demonstration, saying it was beyond the OSCE election observers' mandate. "What does what happened at night have to do with the election? The election was over,'' he said at a news conference. Al Jazeera 

Belarus strongman brutally suppresses post-election uprising - The Telegraph

Belarus president's rival Vladimir Neklyayev dragged from hospital bed – The Guardian