Landslide victory for Lukashenka in Belarus

Last Updated: Sunday, December 19, 2010 - 21:33

Moscow: Belarus President
Alexander Lukashenko described as the `last dictator in
Europe` is expected to win a fourth term in elections that
took place Sunday in the former Soviet Republic, exit polls
claim.

Lukashenka, who is seeking fourth five-year term
is said to be leading with over 70 per cent votes exit polls
show. His nearest rival Andrei Sannikov is trailing far
behind with only 6.33 per cent votes, ECOOM pollster said
after questioning 4431 voters at 100 polling stations across
the country. There were 10 candidates in the fray.

Popularly known as `Bat`ka` (papa) Lukashenka, 56,
is often described as the `last dictator in Europe` by his
liberal opposition, which so far has failed to unite against
him. He has been in power since 1994 in 9.6 million strong
former Soviet republic.

"I am going into the elections with absolute
confidence. I feel the support of the people. If I didn`t feel
it, I wouldn`t have run as a candidate," Lukashenka was quoted
as saying by RIA Novosti.

The opposition says it already has evidence of
vote-rigging and is calling for new elections without
Lukashenka. More than 23 per cent absentee votes were already
cast by today`s polling, which the opposition sees an evidence
of ballot-rigging.

The EU will be watching closely for the OSCE
election monitoring verdict, expected tomorrow, and Brussels`
reaction could be a key factor in Belarus` foreign policy.

The Kremlin, which had launched a smear campaign
against Lukashenka, seems to have mended fences with him
fearing a Georgia-type Rose revolution, in the country acting
as a buffer between Russia and NATO.

PTI



First Published: Sunday, December 19, 2010 - 21:33

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