The first votes have been cast in the Belarus presidential election, in a heavy climate following the eve-of-ballot televised address by President Lukashenko.As many as 20 percent of voters electors have already cast their ballots in early voting ahead of today’s main poll. The practice has been condemned by the opposition as a vehicle for fraud.
Polls suggest Lukashenko is sure of a big win, but he still warned those unhappy with the result against demonstrating demonstrating in the streets tonight. Organisations like the OSCE is watching the vote amid western protests that Lukashenko’s 12 years in power have led to flawed elections and a lack of freedom. The opposition is trying to keep its spirits up faced with seemingly inevitable defeat, as it can feel support from beyond Belarus’s borders for their desire for change. It has strong support in Minsk and among the young. Lukashenko enjoys backing in provincial towns and rural areas. Second-placed Alexandre Milinkevich appealed to people to mass in the centre ofthe capital tonight in protest, which he promised would be peaceful, and said he was sure the police would not fire on them.