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  • A woman attends the polls in Minsk, Belarus, August 9, 2020.

    A woman attends the polls in Minsk, Belarus, August 9, 2020. | Photo: Twitter/ @yenisafakEN

Published 9 August 2020
Opinion

By 12h00 local time, the level of participation in Belarus' presidential elections exceeded 54 percent, according to the Central Electoral Commission (CEC).

With current President Alexander Lukashenko as the most likely candidate to be elected, Belarus has faced one of the most difficult campaigns since he took office, filled with protests, accusations from the opposition, and tensions with Russia.

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During his assistance to the polls, Lukashenko said he had strengthened surveillance at the border with Russia, which he accused of trying to destabilize the situation in the country.

"There is very strict control on the border. Surveillance has been stepped up in the Russian-Belarusian sector," the President added after casting his vote at a polling station in Minsk.

The vote took place in the presence of around 250 international observers and pitted the President against three women: Svetlana Tijanvskaya, Veronika Tsepkalo, and Maria Kolesnikova.

Lukashenko, who refused to sign the State Union Treaty with Russia due to the lack of agreement on oil and gas tariffs and other commercial disputes, accuses Moscow of supporting the opposition candidates.

Bilateral tensions escalated last week with the arrest of 33 alleged mercenaries from the Kremlin-linked private military company Wagner, whose extradition has already been requested by Ukrainia's President Vladimir Zelenski.

Over 40 percent of Belarusians voted in advance, which the opposition and the independent observers considered it as a fraud instrument.

Three other candidates are also running for the presidency, with little chance according to the polls: Andrei Dmitriev, co-chairman of the "Tell the Truth" movement; former Lawmaker Anna Kanopatskaya, and the leader of the Social Democrats, Sergei Cherechen.

https://www.telesurenglish.net/news/Belarus-Early-Voting-for-Presidential-Elections-Begins-20200804-0004.html
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