Elections: Belarus elects new parliament - criticism of manipulation

For the first time since the controversial presidential election in the summer of 2020 and the ensuing mass protests, authoritarian-led Belarus has elected a new parliament.

Elections: Belarus elects new parliament - criticism of manipulation

For the first time since the controversial presidential election in the summer of 2020 and the ensuing mass protests, authoritarian-led Belarus has elected a new parliament. The nationwide vote took place without incident, the electoral commission in Minsk announced on Sunday evening after the polling stations closed. Participation in the vote was reported at 72.98 percent. In addition to 110 members of parliament, around 12,000 representatives from local assemblies were also newly elected.

Results were not initially given. The votes are considered unfree and manipulated. The power apparatus of long-term ruler Alexander Lukashenko did not invite independent election observers from the West.

There is no opposition

There is no opposition in Belarus. In total, only four parties were allowed, all of which are on the course of ruler Lukashenko, who is considered completely dependent on Russia and Kremlin leader Vladimir Putin. Lukashenko announced on Sunday that he would run again in the next presidential election. A date was not given. “No responsible president will abandon his people who followed him into battle,” he said to potential opposition, according to state media. "Don't worry, we will do it the way it is necessary for Belarus."

The Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tichanovskaya, who fled abroad, emphasized on Thursday that the elections had nothing to do with democracy. She also referred to the many political prisoners in the country. Human rights activists put the number at more than 1,400.

Lukashenko has been in power since 1994

In August 2020, Lukashenko, who has been in office since 1994, was again declared the winner of the presidential election. The opposition, however, saw Tichanowskaja as the real winner. The EU also no longer recognizes Lukashenko as head of state. In the weeks after the election there were mass protests, which were brutally suppressed by the power apparatus. More than 35,000 people were arrested at that time.

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