A Collaboration with the University of Pittsburgh

Belarus presidential election followed by fraud protest

[JURIST] Thousands of opposition supporters rallied in Minsk Sunday to protest what they claimed were the rigged results of the Belarus [JURIST news archive] presidential election, defying threats of a government crackdown. Current president Alexander Lukashenko [official website; BBC profile], who has ruled for 12 years, is expected to win his third five-year term by a landslide, and early exit polls suggest he has won more than 80% of the vote. Opposition candidates say, however, that they have been denied access to the media during, that their supporters have been jailed [JURIST report], and that some foreign observers have been barred. Late Sunday local time opposition leader Aleksandr Milinkevich [Wikipedia profile; campaign website] called on the demonstrators to disperse, but to return again Monday [BELAPAN report] after the official results of the poll are released. Belarus news agency BELAPAN has extended coverage of the Belarus presidential election in English.

The Belarus Central Election Commission [official website] has thusfar denied receiving any official complaints over the conduct of the poll, although commission head Lidiya Yermoshina said Sunday she expected OSCE election observers [backgrounder] to have a "very bad opinion" of the vote [BELAPAN report]. Opposition leaders have hopes of ousting Lukashenko in a bloodless popular revolt along the lines of the recent "Orange Revolution" in Ukraine and the "Rose Revolution" is Georgia, both of which saw authoritarian regimes replaced by more ostensibly-democratic leaders. AFP has more.

7:45 PM ET - AP is reporting that President Lukashenko has won a third term with 82.6 percent of the vote, according to top Belarus election officials.

About Paper Chase

Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

© Copyright JURIST Legal News and Research Services, Inc., 2013.