According to the Electoral Commission of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko has been re-elected as the country’s President, after taking almost 83 percent of the votes. Earlier, 10 000 demonstrated in October Square in Minsk against alleged electoral fraud, after partial official results suggested Lukashenko had won a third term in office.
The Electoral Commission President said six percent of the vote went to the liberal opposition candidate Alexander Milinkevich. He has called for poll to be declared invalid. “I think everyone’s in a great mood, this is not simply a rally, it’s a celebration of the rebirth of the Belarussian people. They wanted to bring the population to its knees and intimidate it, but the people did not give in. They have real values.”, Milinkevich said. At one of the largest rallies in recent years, some waved the white and red national colours banned by Lukashenko, and others had European Union flags. There were also Ukrainian flags, in recognition of the so-called Orange Revolution there in 2004. Milinkevich’s team says that according to non-official surveys of voters on Sunday, the challenger took at least 30 per cent of the votes cast, while Lukashenko scored less than the 50 per cent needed to avoid a run-off in the next two weeks. The European Union and the United States have threatened to push for sanctions if the hundreds of independent election monitors declare they are unhappy with the way the election was carried out.