Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has secured a landslide election victory, according to preliminary results released by the Central Electoral Commission. The aftermath has been marred by anti-government protests.
Lukashenko won re-election with 80 percent of the vote, while the main opposition candidate, Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, received nearly 10 percent of the ballots cast.
The preliminary results were released after massive protests broke out in Minsk and other cities during the night. Police used tear gas, water cannons, and other crowd control methods to disperse the demonstrators.
An official exit poll forecasted that Lukashenko would receive 81.35 percent of the vote. Tikhanovskaya was expected to get around eight percent. On Sunday, opposition supporters took to the streets in Minsk as well as some other cities across the country, including Gomel, Mogilev, and Vitebsk, claiming that the projected results were fraudulent.
One person was killed in last night’s riots, a local human rights center told Russia’s TASS news agency. The head of Belarus’ Investigative Committee said that criminal charges will be brought against demonstrators accused of carrying out acts of violence against security forces. If found guilty, they could face up to 15 years in prison.
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