- Title: BELARUS: Opposition candidate Andrei Sannikov votes in the presidential election
- Date: 20th December 2010
- Summary: MINSK, BELARUS (DECEMBER 19, 2010) (REUTERS) EXTERIOR OF POLLING STATION SIGN READING POLLING STATION ON BUILDING (*** FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY ***) INTERIOR - OPPOSITION CANDIDATE ANDREI SANNIKOV COMES OUT OF VOTING BOOTH WITH WIFE AND CHILD AND CASTS BALLOT SEAL ON BALLOT BOX (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) OPPOSITION CANDIDATE ANDREI SANNIKOV RESPONDING TO REPORTER QUESTION "WILL YOU STILL GATHER ON THE SQUARE THIS EVENING?", SAYING: "Of course" (REPORTER QUESTION 'WHAT'S GOING TO HAPPEN THERE?') "Come along with us and you will see." (REPORTER QUESTION 'WHO DID YOU VOTE FOR?') "For a free Belarus" (SAID AS HE LEAVES) CANDIDATES POSTER PEOPLE REGISTERING TO VOTE WOMAN COMES FROM BOOTH AND CASTS BALLOT MOBILE BALLOT BOXES WITH SEAL
- Embargoed: 4th January 2011 12:00
- Location: Belarus, Belarus
- Country: Belarus
- Topics: Domestic Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA6L2M0IT8CM2OOXFSH9RZE50HY
- Story Text: Opposition candidate Andrei Sannikov said he voted for "a free Belarus" as he cast his vote in the country's presidential election on Sunday (December 19).
Sannikov called on supporters to join a protest in the city centre square after polls close.
Fifty-six year-old Sannikov is a former deputy foreign minister who heads the most popular Belarusian opposition website Charter97.org and the European Belarus movement. He has campaigned on taking Belarus into the European Union and improving ties with Russia.
Charter97.org has undergone two investigations this year over material about the Belarusian security service, the KGB, and about a reader's comments, according to an editor of the website.
Lukashenko, in power since 1994, tolerates little dissent in the former Soviet republic of 10 million people. Opposition groups and critical media have faced pressure for years.
Sannikov, responding to questions about Sunday's planned protest, said it would take place but gave no further details.
"Come along with us and you will see," said Sannikov, adding that he had voted for " a free Belarus."
The opposition said it would call supporters into the freezing October Square in central Minsk after polls close.
Sannikov quit his post in the Belarus Foreign Ministry in 1996 in protest at a constitutional referendum and went into opposition against incumbent President Alexander Lukashenko.
Lukashenko is widely expected to win the poll and secure a fourth term in office.
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