Turnout during early vote is 41,7 percent, according to the central election commission. Independent observers said that the turnout was much lower. It is indeed hard to believe that nearly half of the voters already cast the ballot. This figure is an absolute record
Belarusians are heading to polls to participate in a rigged presidential ‘election‘ propping up the authoritarian President Łukašenka Opposition candidates detained & harassed, yet they remain hopeful, want voters to participate.
Belarusians are voting in a presidential election on August 9 as incumbent Alyaksandr Lukashenka seeks a sixth term with arrest of more than 1,000 opposition supporters, the barring of several potential challengers.
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Four challengers are on the ballot, but attention has focused on Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya, who was a last-minute replacement after husband, Syarhey Tsikhanouski, a popular vlogger who urged Belarusians to squash the “cockroach” Lukashenka with their slippers, was barred from running following his controversial arrest in late May.
Polls on August 9 are set to open at 8 a.m., local time, and close 12 hours later at 8 p.m., local time. First preliminary results are due early August 10.
Belarusian election commission banned all independent observers at the election but ordinary citizens take their place. A school keeper from one of Minsk schools where a polling station is located says that during her two shifts 89 people came to vote, commission says it was 383
World Bank predicts Belarus’s economy will contract 4 percent this year, the biggest drop in 25 years.
The vote also comes as relations between Belarus and traditional ally Russia have worsened since December when Lukashenka pulled out at the last moment from plans for deeper integration with Russia under their 1999 Union Treaty. Since then, Moscow has limited energy supplies to Minsk, which is dependent on discounted Russian gas and oil to run its inefficient, largely state-dominated economy.
As in the past when relations with Russia soured, Lukashenka has turned to the West. In a sign of a thaw, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in February became the most senior U.S. official to visit Belarus in more than two decades.