Yesterday was declared a non-working day in Belarus to encourage the population to go to the polls in the nation’s (rerun) elections to the parliament. At stake are 141 parliamentary seats in constituencies where voter turnout in last May’s elections was below the legally required 50 percent. At least 55 deputies would have to be elected in the reruns, and join the 119 deputies elected in May, in order to achieve a valid parliamentary quorum. Results issued today showed that turnout in all but two of 141 by-elections exceeded the required 50 percent. Just as he had done in May’s failed election, President Aleksandr Lukashenko announced that he was crossing out every name on his ballot to show his disapproval of all candidates. In the runup to the rerun election, Lukashenko declared in advance that he distrusted the future deputies’ loyalty to himself, and threatened repeatedly to impose direct presidential rule. (14)
Hryb Throws In the Towel.