Belarus president shows how to win five elections

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April 22, 2016 19:37

In a school hall on the outskirts of Minsk, an unusual event is taking place. It’s a week before Belarus’s presidential election and voters are questioning an opposition candidate about the legitimacy of her campaign.

“I came here to make sure you’re not a KGB agent,” says one woman in the audience of about 50 people. Then a man asks why he should vote at all when the results are sure to be falsified.

The candidate’s reply does little to instil confidence. “The regime counts the votes for itself,” says Tatyana Korotkevich, the only presidential challenger claiming to represent Belarus’s democratic opposition. “If a different candidate wins it will know, and it won’t be able to ignore us. Then I will be able to continue agitating for peaceful changes,” she adds.

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Problems remain for independent journalism in Belarus
April 22, 2016 19:37

Despite raised hopes, a full turn toward Europe seems unlikely.

Do recent events indicate that Belarus could fully turn towards Europe and pull away from Russia politically? In the last few months, a number of developments have excited observers in international media and revitalised old debates about the former Soviet country’s future. But despite positive indications, a broader view suggests that this prediction may be overly optimistic.

In the judgment of most media freedom or democracy indexes, the Eastern European country is labelled as one of the worst in Europe and in recent years Belarus has shown no tangible progress towards establishing a free media atmosphere.

 

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