Belarus: Vote-rigging concerns bring about protests in the streets

After its 2006 controversial presidential elections which created many incidents such as rallies and protests in the streets of Minsk, former Soviet Union satellite Belarus, is making the headlines after holding new presidential elections today December 19, 2010. Just like in 2006, President Alexander Lukashenko who has governed the country since 1994, is already said to be the next winner; despite oppositon parties already mentioning voting irregularities. As a result, thousands of protesters gathered today in Minsk to denounce fraudulent early results that give more than 70% of the votes to president Lukashenko. Today's protests have been "cracked down" by the police which used noise grenades and batons to disperse the protesters. One opposition leader Mr. Vladimir Neklyaev, leader of the Belarussian party Pen-Centre has been injured and taken to the hospital with head injuries. President Lukashenko who is also called "the last dictator of Europe" has warned oppostion parties while he was casting his vote that any rally or protests will be repressed.When asked by a reporter if today's vote will bring a political change to the country, Mr. Lukashenko answered that political changes will certainly take place; before adding however that political changes do not mean change of power in Belarus. Belarus is in a bad economic shape, with a 10% inflation rate and a debt that rose from $5 billion in 2006 to $25 billion in 2010. To solve its economic problems, the government is playing the card of privatization, and is trying to show to the face of the world that it can maintain social peace; which will ensure that it continues to get money from Europe.


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