On August 9, Belarusians voted to choose a new president, with attention focused on the race between current President Alexander Lukashenko and opposition heavyweight candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya.
Polling places are open from 8am and close at 20pm (local time). According to the Belarus Central Election Commission, in the early voting taking place from August 4-8, an estimated 41.7% of voters voted.
According to the BBC, the five-term president Alexander Lukashenko is facing the toughest challenge in many years.
Many Belarusians expressed hope that this election will bring a positive change to the country of 9.5 million people after 26 years of Lukashenko in power. However, there are many opinions that President Lukashenko will continue to win to take office for the 6th term.
|Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko. Photo: TASS|
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has pledged to ensure security on election day. Police have tightened traffic checks in the capital Minsk, increased presence in the city and set up barricades around government buildings.
Earlier, on Independence Avenue in the center of Minsk, many people supporting the opposition held a protest. Scuffles took place and police were forced to arrest many extremists.
Belarus’s elections are closely watched in Russia, which has long sought a coalition that can unite two economies, state institutions and form a single currency, according to the Washington Post. Best. Relations between Minsk and Moscow increasingly strained because of Mr. Lukashenko’s opposition to the alliance.
Recently, Lukashenko accused Russia of trying to destabilize Belarus after 33 Russian citizens – according to Lukashenko’s administration’s allegations that Russian mercenaries belonging to the Wagner Group’s paramilitary forces, were arrested in Belarus a few weeks before the vote. But Lukashenko told reporters on Aug. 9 that he had received a letter from Russian President Vladimir Putin explaining the situation and that he had agreed with Putin to resolve the issue.
Russian news agency TASS reported that, after voting on August 9, President Lukashenko pledged that Belarus would not be dragged into chaos and civil war after the election.
“The situation should not be underestimated but there is absolutely no basis to say that starting tomorrow the country of Belarus will be dragged into chaos or any struggle, confrontation or any civil war. I would like to tell you this sincerely and with assurance “, said Mr Lukashenko. Meanwhile, the country’s authorities are considering “many different options”, the president noted.