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Voters urged to boycott Belarus election

Voters urged to boycott Belarus election
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The two main opposition parties in Belarus are urging voters to boycott Sunday’s election, after earlier withdrawing their candidates from the race.

In total, six groups are requesting people stay away from the ballot for the 110-member chamber, which is seen by critics as a body that rubber stamps decisions by President Alexander Lukashenko.

The opposition is also criticising early voting, claiming it is a way of manipulating the result because of poor supervision.

Election authorities say almost 20 percent of registered voters have already cast their ballot during the four days of advance voting.

Criticising the election, political analyst Valery Karbalevich said: “What is happening in Belarus can hardly even be called falsification. The results are well known beforehand, and it doesn’t matter how the people vote, as the election commission will announce the figures which they have received ahead of the election. It is not even a falsification; it simply means that the votes are not counted at all.”

A police crackdown two years ago weakened the opposition, and there are reports of activists being arrested this time around.

In charge of what has been called ‘the last dictatorship in Europe’, Lukashenko has accused his opponents of being scared to let the electorate speak.