5 MORE YEARS
Lukashenka wins the elections with 82.6%
Some 6 per cent of the electorate supported Alexander Milinkevich, 3.5 per cent – Sergei Gaidukevich and 2.3 per cent – Alexander Kozulin. - Thousands of protesters thronged the main square of the Belarusian capital on Sunday in defiance of a government ban, refusing to recognize a presidential vote that gave a landslide — and largely expected — victory to the iron-fisted incumbent.
The incumbent allegedly gained 90.2 percent in the Gomel region, 88.5 percent in the Mogilyov region, 83.8 percent in the Grodno region, 82.9 percent in the Vitebsk region, 83.6 percent in the Brest region, 81 percent in the Minsk region, and 70.7 percent in the city of Minsk.
At the opposition demonstration in the capital‘s main square — the largest in years — protesters chanted "Long Live Belarus!" and the name of the main opposition candidate. Some waved a historic flag that President Alexander Lukashenko had replaced with a Soviet-style design, while others waved European Union flags.
"We demand new, honest elections," Milinkevich told the crowd Sunday evening. "This was a complete farce."
The turnout at the presidential elections of 2006 has beaten the 2001 figures.
According to the central election commission, as of 18h00 some 87.8 per cent of voters fulfilled their civil duty. In 2001 some 82.55 per cent of citizens of Belarus, entitled to vote, took part in the elections. As of 18h00 five years ago this figure was 75.20 per cent.
The lowest turnout was recorded in Minsk, where 85.1 percent of the electorate voted.
The highest turnout, 95.6 percent, was recorded in the Gomel region. The turnout was 95.3 percent in the Mogilyov region, 95 percent in the Vitebsk region, 93.8 percent in the Grodno region, 93 percent in the Brest region and 92.6 percent in the Minsk region, according to the central election commission.
Alexander Lukashenko: Belarusian society not to be split
Alexander Lukashenko believes that there will be no division in the Belarusian society.
“Taking into account all prognoses I have, the Belarusian society will not be split. We have been threatened by this for more than 10 years already. Yet our society remains solid,” the head of state declared during a meeting with journalists in election center #1 of the Minsk central district.
When answering a question if he was going to include members of the opposition into the government in case he wins the incumbent president said “They have already been in the government. Almost all opposition leaders have left my government only because they had smaller “portfolios” than they wanted”.
In speaking about the USA's recent acusations about Belarus' allegedly rendered financial assistance to terrorist organizations. "If Belarus got drawn in this savage campaign of sponsoring terrorism, the situation inside the country would have long been destabilized,"
The president stressed: “If Mr. Bush knows anything, then he had better produce the facts”. “I think he lays the blame on somebody’s else. First of all he is terrorist #1 on our planet, as to destroy openly the states in different parts of the world and then kill presidents cannot be excused”, the Belarusian leader stressed.
President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko was surprised that “such a powerful country as the USA was engaged in a petty blackmail on the eve of the presidential election in our country”. The statement to this effect was made by the head of state when answering a question of journalists in respect of the statement made by US president George Bush about the personal bank accounts of Alexander Lukashenko and those of the Belarus’ top officials”.
“I think that he is not even capable to count his own incomes from oil and war,” Alexander Lukashenko said.
The head of state repeatedly emphasized that he was ready to give George Bush all the money the latter had allegedly found on the account of the incumbent president of Belarus. “I address journalists of the world’s leading mass media: tell him to take all the money allegedly found on my accounts,” Alexander Lukashenko stressed.
Only the Belarusian people will determine who will be the president of Belarus, head of state Alexander Lukashenko has stated today when answering the questions of reporters at polling station #1 of the central district of Minsk.
“We hold elections in Belarus for ourselves. It is the people of Belarus who will elect president. I am sure that the results will show: that the Belarusian people are the master of the state”, Alexander Lukashenko said.
The main thing, in his opinion, is that the elections should comply with the Belarusian legislation.
Commenting upon the statements that Belarus failed to create equal conditions for all presidential hopefuls, Alexander Lukashenko stated: “They had better state facts. When they produce concrete facts then we will discuss them. They have been bringing accusations against me for more than 10 years. We have got used to it”.
Charter 97's coverage of the street protest
Note: Charter 97 had very interesting coverage of the street rally. By clicking “HERE”, you can have a read of reports made pretty much every 10 minutes or so. In addition, there are a lot more photos from THIS ARTICLE which can also be seen. Charter “97 as with several other oppositionist sites were all blocked and internet service in general was briefly suspended during the rally itself. All sites have obviously been restored. But hey, at least we know that they can, right? In any case, these are some real stories from the square in Minsk and are worth mentioning and preserving here
By 8 p.m. October Square was full of people. Endless columns of people were arriving to the center of Minsk. Brave and decisive people were carrying flowers, balloons, jeans ribbons, national flags and flags of the European Union. The square was blue and white-red-white. Everybody wanted to have a symbol of freedom – a ribbon on the sleeve, a badge “For Freedom!”, a bandana. The eyes of the people were saying: “Freedom and changes!”
A real revolutionary atmosphere was reigning. Slogans “Long Live Belarus!”, “Milinkevich!”, “Freedom!” were heard all the time. Cars moving along the square were honking as a sign of solidarity with free people who gathered on the square. It’s amazing that one of the passengers of a bus passing by climbed on the roof of the bus through the window and started waving a huge white-red-white flag. He was greeted by thousands of exited voices: “Freedom! Long live Belarus!”
People were calling to their friends, colleagues all the time and colleagues and called everybody to the square. “I have felt myself as a human. I have understood that I am alive, when I came to the square today,” people were saying.
The single democratic candidate for presidency Alyaksandr Milinkevich arrived to the square at 9 p.m. The square was awaiting them: with shining eyes, smiles, open hearts. Everybody was chanting: “Milinkevich!”, “Freedom!”, “Long live Belarus!” Cars honked, people ran out of buses and joined people on the square, policemen were smiling. It seemed as those 12 years of dictatorship vanished. People were released from invisible chains of fear, straighten shoulders and took the fate of the country to their hands.
The meeting started at the stairs of the Palace of Trade Unions. In the beginning the head of the electoral headquarters of the single candidate Syarhei Kalyakin announced the exit-poll information by Russian Levada center. More than 30% of voters voted for Alyaksandr Milinkevich. A little more than 40% voted for the dictator. According to the law, a run-out is to be held in Belarus. The data of the Central Electoral Committee is rigged.
“We have demonstrated to ourselves and to the whole world that we want to live in a free, democratic, European country. We have forgotten fear. The dictator has lost. It is obvious. We have become different people. We do not admit the results of these presidential elections. The country has awakened. We are winning!” Milinkevich said.
The candidate for presidency, former BSU rector Alyaksandr Kazulin came to the square with all his family. He said: “You all are free people! You are not afraid of anything any more. A revolution has really occurred in Belarus. No one would ever make you kneel. We are masters of your future and your country. Lukashenka is a dictator, and we ought to tell him that his time is over!” The candidate called upon policemen to stop serving to the dictator’s regime and to side with their own nation.
In the middle of the meeting e authorities tried to intimidate people by attacking them with snow. With the help of special cannons artificial snow was thrown on the mass of people. A strong snow storm was imitated. Flags were torn from flagpoles, hats were torn off, and it was impossible to see anything. In 15 minutes everything was quiet. And people saw that it was an artificial snow. It has made people indignant, but at the same time people were laughing at the weakness of the regime.
Then deputies of Polsih Sejm, German Bundestag, representatives of the Union of the Right Forces of Russia addressed the people. They all expressed support to the Belarusians on their way to freedom. Pawel Zalewski, a chairman of the Polish Sejm’s International Affairs Commission, and Nikita Belykh, the leader of the Russian Union of the Right Forces, greeted the Belarusians. The politician urged not to believe that Russia supports Lukashenka. “Russia supports democratic Belarus,” he said.
“We are always with you. You deserve freedom! Belarus must join the family of the European nations. You are able to do anything to make the last dictatorship of Europe collapse,” a deputy of German Bundestag said.
Well-known painters, musicians, journalists, scientists and priests addressed the protesters on the square.
Then Alyaksandr Kazulin delivered a second speech on October Square. He told that he and Alyaksandr Milinkevich have discussed the situation and they call upon the people to come to October Square tomorrow, at 6.30 p.m. Until that time, he called upon the people to come to Victory Square to lay flowers brought by people to the monument. The candidate for presidency called upon policemen not to interfere with the march.
About 15 or 20 thousand people headed to Victory Square under blue and white-red-white flags. Presidential candidates Alyaksandr Milinkevich and Alyaksandr Kazulin put flowers in the Eternal Fire on Victory Square in Minsk. A. Milinkevich asked people to disband, and to gather tomorrow, on March 20, at 6.30 p.m. on October Square again. By that time, the candidate said, the official results and results of independent exit-polls would be known.
A. Milinkevich said also: “Police is at our side, they are honest people and they are not fulfilling illegal orders”.
Belarus' Dashinski wins season-ending aerials event to claim world cup title
Dashinski's winning score was 259.52, while Canada's Ryan Blais was second in 250.74 and Ales Valenta of the Czech Republic third in 245.14.
Nissen blew the landing on his second of two jumps to finish eighth in the competition and drop to second in the season's final standings.
Dashinski finished with 585 points, including three event victories, 36 ahead of Nissen.
Olympic women's champion Evelyne Leu of Switzerland went from first in the opening round to fourth in the second round of her aerials final Sunday. But it was still enough to capture the women's season title and crystal globe.
Leu reached the World Cup podium four times en route to scoring 524 points.
In Sunday's final, Alla Tsuper of Belarus won with a score of 184.63 to end the season with six World Cup podium finishes and second in the overall standings with 507 points.
The other medallists in Sunday's event were second-place Cheng Shuang of China and Emily Cook of the United States in third.