The 2020 political crisis in Belarus.
The Belarus 2020 Presidential elections were held on Sunday, 9 August 2020.
Opposition candidate Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya stood for election in the 2020 Belarusian presidential election as the main opposition candidate after her husband, Sergei Tikhanovsky, was arrested by Belarusian authorities, just two days after the announcement of the Election in May 2020.
Opposition candidate Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya claimed to have won a decisive first-round victory with at least 60% of the vote, and called on Lukashenko to start negotiations with the Coordination Council.
Immediately after polling, the military closed down most of Minsk, and many internet service providers lost routing, this meant that election news could only be heard through official channels.
Checkpoints had been placed around Minsk’s main road intersections and government buildings were being fenced off as protests were expected from the many people protesting about the result that was apparently previously arranged.
All seven members of the Coordination Council Presidium were subsequently arrested or went into exile.
The winning Opposition candidate,
Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, was escorted by Belarusian security services out of the country into exile, after being arrested the day before the Election.
She had claimed to have won the presidential election with between 60 and 70% of the vote, more than enough to defeat Lukashenko outright.
However, the incumbent Alexander Lukashenko’s version of the election results showed that Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya only got 10.23% of the vote.
Many countries, and Belarusians, believe that Alexander Lukashenko’s version was falsified to give him another win.
A Belarusian court later sentenced the country’s leading opposition figure, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, who lives in exile, to 15 years in prison. This was for 12 crimes, including “conspiracy to take power unconstitutionally”.
Other prominent opponents were given jail sentences of 10, 12 or 18 years.
As at 1 March 2023, Belarus still held 1,461 political prisoners.
Honest People, an independent association in Belarus that monitors elections, said it found over 5,000 violations from observers, and that about 70 of their election observers were detained by the government.
According to experts and human rights activists, no credible independent observers were overseeing the election. Only Russia and Azerbaijan were participating as international observers during the election.
It was reported at some polling stations, that the main opposition candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya was ahead of Lukashenko.
Opinion polling in Belarus requires a government license. Media outlets are also banned from conducting online polls regarding the election.
However, one independent poll showed Lukashenko with 24% support.
Lukashenko’s official results have given him 81%.
The majority of countries believe these official results are not the real numbers.
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