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Belarus opposition tells Lukashenko to step down

Video Credit: Reuters - Politics - Duration: 02:10s - Published
Belarus opposition tells Lukashenko to step down

Belarus opposition tells Lukashenko to step down

The opposition in Belarus rejected official election results handing President Alexander Lukashenko a landslide re-election victory on Monday, saying the poll was rigged and that talks needed to begin on a peaceful transfer of power.

Emer McCarthy reports.

The opposition in Belarus rejected official election results handing President Alexander Lukashenko a landslide re-election victory on Monday, saying the poll was rigged and talks needed to begin on a peaceful transfer of power.

Earlier, the central election commission said Lukashenko, who's been in power for more than a quarter of a century, won 80% of the vote in Sunday's election, while his main opponent Svetlana Tikhanouskaya took just 9.9%.

Thousands took to the streets on Sunday night, with riot police using force to disperse those rallying against what they said was an electoral farce.

Foreign observers have not judged an election to be free and fair in Belarus since 1995, and the run-up to the vote saw authorities jail Lukashenko's rivals as well as open criminal investigations into those who voiced opposition.

Tikhanouskaya told reporters she considered herself the election winner and said the poll had been massively rigged.

The opposition now wants a vote recount at polling stations where there were problems, her aides said, adding that protests which turned violent on Sunday would continue.

The opposition says it's ready to hold talks with authorities but there's been no immediate response to that offer from Lukashenko.

He's standing firm, signalling he would not step down.

The 65-year-old was quoted by the Belta news agency as saying: "The response will be appropriate.

We won't allow the country to be torn apart," Lukashenko was congratulated on his win by both Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin.

But the European Union's foreign policy chief and its commissioner for enlargement said the election had been marred by, quote, "disproportionate and unacceptable state violence against peaceful protesters." A spokesman for the German foreign ministry also said there were numerous indications of electoral fraud, with neighboring Poland calling for a special EU summit on Belarus.




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