Belarus’ president remains defiant
August 17, 2020 @ 14:08 +03:00
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has rejected calls to quit following his contested re-election, warning that the former Soviet republic would “perish as a state” if it was forced to repeat the vote.
Opposition protesters took to the streets for the eighth consecutive day of anti-government demonstrations on Sunday, demanding the departure of the country’s embattled authoritarian leader.
It comes as anger grows over reports of police violence and allegations of electoral fraud and poll-rigging in the August 9 presidential election.
Lukashenko, who has been in power since 1994, claimed a landslide victory in the vote that gave him his sixth term in office and has denied allegations of fraud.
“Until you kill me, there will be no other elections,” Lukashenko told workers at a tractor plant on Monday, Reuters reported, citing local independent media outlet Tut.by.
Official results indicate he received around 80% of the vote earlier this month, while main opposition candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, 37, was said to have received around 10% of the vote.
The opposition called for a general strike from Monday. It comes after thousands of workers at state-controlled factories, a traditional support base for Lukashenko, went on strike late last week.
Meanwhile, German Finance Minister Olaf Sholz described Lukashenko as a “dictator” who had lost the support of the electorate, warning Moscow from intervening to prop up a president that “no longer has any legitimacy.”
Belarus’ president remains defiant after largest protest in country’s history, NATO ‘closely monitoring’ situation, CNBC, Aug 17