Lukashenka admits ‘slight’ ballot rigging in presidential elections

Alyksandr Lukashenka, 11 February 2021. Photo:

Making a speech at the Belarusian People’s Congress, Alyaksandr Lukashenka made a comment on the outcome of the 2020 presidential election.

The two-day Congress, which the authorities call ‘the country’s main social and political event of five years’ has kicked off on Thursday morning. Nearly 2,400 delegates and over 300 guests are expected to show up at the event.

“After this election they say: ‘Look, they have fixed the results in favour of the incumbent president!’ You know, our heads of regional executive committees are in the habit of showing off better results. And some of them could add a percent or two [to Lukashenka]. But listen, one cannot stuff 80% of votes! Well, if someone does not like 80% [in favour of Lukashenka], let it be 76%. Let it be 68%, which, according to the questionnaires, is now the average. Or 74.5% – according to the public opinion polls. Let it be! But we are still the winners, the overwhelming majority of our people stand by us! ” Lukashenka said.

This statement was greeted by the delegates’ applause.

Polling station in Minsk rehearses vote counting with known figures

In late January, Lukashenka stated that ‘about 6 million people voted for the current government, for the current president’. Howeber, the number is more than 100% of those who cast their ballots in the presidential election in August. As the official resolution by the rubber-stamping Central Election Commission (CEC) reads, 5.8 mln Belarusian citizens voted, 4.6 million (80.1%) supported Lukashenka. Belarusian officials state that his strongest rival Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya got 10.12% of votes. However, on the back of announcing the results of the official exit polls, Belarusians started to take to the streets, claiming that their votes were stolen.

The major demands of protesting Belarusians are Lukashenka’s resignation; holding a free and fair election; releasing political prisoners; putting an end to police violence as well as propaganda on state-run TV stations. In the wake of the brutal crackdown on peaceful protesters, Tsikhanouskaya initiated the creation of the Coordination Council (СС) as part of taking urgent measures to restore law and order in Belarus as well as to ensure the transfer of power in the country. Belarus’ Prosecutor General opened a criminal case over establishing the Council, naming it a ‘threat to national security’.

Minsk: Protest days in photos