Lukashenko reelected as president amidst protests, US/EU criticism

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December 20, 2010 19:33

Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko charging at the opposition and the Western leadership during a news conference in Minsk December 20, 2010. Photo - Gleb Garanich/Reuters

Who: President of Belarus Alexander Lukashekno.

What: Alexander Lukashenko has comfortably won a fourth presidential term in an election marred by violent protests and the arrest of opposition challengers. International observers and western governments accused Belarus’ leader of using fraud and violence. The Belarussian statesman rebuffed the criticism and called it as an interference in his country’s internal affairs.

Where: Up to 10,000 people demonstrated on the country’s snow-bound capital, Minsk. Opposition sources say hundreds of protestors were apprehended by the police and security services.

When: The violent demonstrations took place on Sunday with opposition activists chanting “Out!”, “Long Live Belarus!” and other anti-Lukashenko slogans.

Why: Lukashenko, under fire from international election monitors for flawed vote counting and police heavy-handedness, accused demonstrators of banditry. “There will be no revolution or criminality in Belarus,” he said, adding that security forces had stood firm against “barbarism and destruction” by militants. Western governments accuse Belarussian leader of using fraud and violence to remain in power after more than 16 years of repressive rule.

How: The state electoral commission said early on Monday that President Alexander 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. Lukashenko is quite popular throughout the the country, where many people praise him for “stability, security and a trustworthy leadership”.

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