No surprises in Belarus

TRUE to his type elsewhere, President Alexander Lukashenko of Belarus has declared himself a winner in this week's widely questioned presidential poll. Again, as usually is the case in such sham elections, Lukashenko has given himself a whopping 82.6 per cent of total votes. Little wonder then the US, European Union and independent observers are crying 'foul' slamming the weekend vote as 'deeply flawed'.

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Published: Wed 22 Mar 2006, 9:48 AM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 5:17 PM

As this newspaper argued on the poll eve, there was little to recommend the presidential vote as a free and fair democratic exercise. Not only the regime of President Lukashenko —rightly labelled by the US as Europe's last dictator —blatantly manipulated the poll outcome, but also coerced the voters and opposition leaders by warning of dire consequences. How are the people expected to make a democratic choice according to their conscience when they are threatened by an overbearing regime?

Clearly, it was the pangs of a guilty conscience when President Lukashenko warned against a people's revolt after the vote, as witnessed in neighbouring Georgia and Ukraine. But the era of tyranny and manipulated elections is long over. The world must refuse to accept this sham of an election. The regime must be made to order fresh elections, which are monitored by independent observers and conducted in accordance with international standards.

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