Elections in Belarus: Lukaschenko facing competition
The presidential election in Belarus is scheduled for August 9. Several opposition candidates who seem to have considerable popular support are planning to run for office. This could mean that President Lukashenko, who has been ruling the country autocratically for 26 years, may not win so easily this time. Or is even a change of regime on the cards?
A pre-revolutionary situation
Political scientist Dmitry Bolkunez explains in Echo of Moscow why Lukashenko could indeed be replaced this time around:
“In recent years [Russia's] subsidisation of the Belarusian economy has declined, and the high degree of dependence on one market is undermining the hitherto untroubled stability. In addition, Lukashenko can no longer solve problems in Moscow and has repeatedly demonstrated his inability to negotiate. ... Two months before the vote, there's no telling how things will turn out. There is a pre-revolutionary situation in Belarus which will either evaporate or lead to a change of regime in August, along Armenian lines. We should be prepared for unexpected developments.”
Too risky for the president
In a Facebook post published by newsru.com journalist Arkady Dubnov says the election could well be cancelled:
“Lukashenko is very nervous. Some even say that the Belarusian soil is beginning to burn under his feet. ... After 26 years in power Lukashenko has realised that the presidential election scheduled for August 9 could become a trap for him. ... Tension is growing and Lukashenko is already talking about 'this so-called election campaign' and the 'so-called alternative candidates'. As one Minsk observer remarked: 'The election can simply be cancelled as soon as it becomes clear that it could turn from a pseudo election into a real one. And that's what's happening.”