- Title: Two main challengers to Belarus president barred from election ballot
- Date: 14th July 2020
- Summary: MINSK, BELARUS (JULY 14, 2020) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF PLACARDS READING (Belarusian): 'AUGUST 9, 2020 - BELARUS PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION' MEDIA WAITING NEAR BELARUS NATIONAL ASSEMBLY BUILDING WHERE ELECTION COMMISSION SESSION TAKING PLACE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE, ANNA KONOPATSKAYA, DEMONSTRATING REGISTRATION CERTIFICATE (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE, ANNA KONOPATSKAYA, SAYING: "I am for democratic changes in Belarus. First of all, I would love to see that the electoral law is for anyone who wants to participate in the process without any pressure on them." JOURNALISTS GATHERING AROUND (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE, SERGEI CHERECHEN, SAYING: "Fair elections in our country are impossible for now. But we are in such a situation when we cannot give up. We must regroup, unite and find the strength to fight against the system which has been built in (the last) 26 years." CHERECHEN THANKING JOURNALISTS, LEAVING PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE, SVETLANA TIKHANOUSKAYA, WALKING OUT OF BELARUS NATIONAL ASSEMBLY BUILDING (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE, SVETLANA TIKHANOUSKAYA, SAYING: "(I have) Mixed emotions. But mostly - I am glad. Because I can now fight on for my husband and people of the Republic of Belarus." TIKHANOUSKAYA HOLDING REGISTRATION CERTIFICATE VARIOUS OF TIKHANOUSKAYA DEMONSTRATING REGISTRATION CERTIFICATE MEDIA NEAR BUILDING PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE, ANDREI DMITRIYEV, TALKING TO JOURNALISTS
- Embargoed: 28th July 2020 17:18
- Keywords: Alexander Lukashenko Belarus Belarus election Presidential election democracy election rigged election voting
- Location: MINSK, BELARUS / MOSCOW AND TVER REGION, RUSSIA
- City: MINSK, BELARUS / MOSCOW AND TVER REGION, RUSSIA
- Country: Belarus
- Topics: Government/Politics,Elections/Voting
- Reuters ID: LVA003CMS8OXL
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: The Belarusian election commission declined on Tuesday (July 14) to register President Alexander Lukashenko's two most prominent opponents as candidates for a presidential election next month, all but ensuring victory for the leader in power for 26 years.
Viktor Babariko, a banker who was detained last month, was excluded from the ballot because of a criminal case against him, the commission said.
Valery Tsepkalo, a former ambassador who runs an office park for tech companies, was also rejected, after signatures on a supporting petition were nullified.
The two men had been widely seen as the last candidates left with a chance of defeating Lukashenko, who faces his strongest opposition in years as frustration mounts over the economy, human rights and him downplaying the coronavirus pandemic.
On Tuesday a number of candidates spoke to the media after being granted registration, saying they wanted to see changes in the country, although the elections would not be fair.
Svetlana Tikhanouskaya, whose husband, blogger Sergei Tikhanovsky, had intended to run before he was detained, said she intended to fight for him and Belarusians after being registered as a candidate.
Police have arrested hundreds of people in an effort to quell anti-government protests before the elections. Almost all of Lukashenko's main rivals are either arrested or under investigation.
Human rights activists have said more than 700 people have been detained during the election campaign. The authorities have not commented on the figures.
A former collective farm boss, Lukashenko has ruled Belarus for 26 years and allowed little dissent.
Relations between Belarus and traditional ally Russia have been strained in recent months as Moscow reduced subsidies that have propped up Lukashenko. But a crackdown by Lukashenko on opponents is likely to hinder his efforts to mend fences with the West.
(Production: Vladimir Kostin, Vasily Fedosenko, Tatiana Gomozova)
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
- Usage Terms/Restrictions: None