83.5% Alexander Lukashenko has won Belarus’ Presidential Elections, he got 83,5% of votes.
This information was provided by the Central Election Commission.
Tatiana Korotkevich got 4.4%. Sergei Gaidukevich — 3.3%, Nikolay Ulakhovich — 1.7%
It was crowded as never before at polling station #8, located at Minsk State College of Arts, on Sunday. Parents were standing with their children near the entrance to the building, in front of a tent selling confectionary and fresh baked goods, while students from the college sang popular songs. The chair of the commission, Konstantin Yevsievich, personally welcomed observers and showed them where to register. He noted that the whole families had been visiting the polling station since morning. Voting booths weren`t empty even for a minute, so that ballot boxes (decorated with ribbons bearing Belarusian ornaments), were one third full even before lunch.
Photo by Vitaliy Gil
There became even more voters by the time when the candidate for presidency Tatiana Korotkevich was supposed to appear at the polling station. It is necessary to admit that the small hall was full, failing to accommodate all those who wished to be there. Some people stayed specially to make a photo with Ms. Korotkevich. Some people wanted to shake her hand personally. There were those who just came to see their neighbour who had became famous rapidly. Several dozen journalists gathered in the hall, including those from Russia and Ukraine.
At 12.00, as was stated before, Tatiana Korotkevich came to the polling station with her husband. And if Vitaly was a bit embarrassed by close attention of the press, his wife felt more than confident in front of cameras. Having come out of the voting booth, she showed her voting paper with a mark against her name, “It’s a historic day for me. For the first time in my life I’ve voted for myself.”
Before putting the voting ballot in the ballot box, she took a photo of it in memory of the event. It was not difficult to guess how her husband voted. Later, he said, “In spite of the busy schedule, my wife has found time and tried as much as possible to take care of the family. I appreciate her for it and fully support in all her undertakings.”
As far as Ms. Korotkevich is concerned, she answered journalists’ questions, telling about future plans, “The day of October 11th was not only the voting day for me. I’ve cheered for my son who took part in school competitions in pioneer ball and I’ve visited the exhibition. And then... whatever the outcome is, I will stay in politics.
This is the party life
Presidential candidate Sergei Gaidukevich arrived at polling station #77 in Semkovo around midday. Voting at the local rural school was active, with queues. One 10 year old boy eagerly helped his father cast his voting paper into the box.
Photo by Alexander Ruzhechka
Sergei Gaidukevich also came with his family — his wife Alla, his son Oleg, daughter Maria and her granddaughter Yelizaveta — all in good mood. “You just vote correctly,” he instructed his wife for a joke. He honestly admitted that he had put a tick in the voting paper against his own name.
In general, I vote for strong, sovereign and democratic Belarus, for our future, for a decent life and, most importantly, that there would always be a peaceful sky above our country!
What kind of impression have the Presidential elections left?
They are held in a dignified manner. In my opinion, there have been provided excellent opportunities for all candidates, much attention has been paid to the media and television campaigns. I would have estimated the work of my election team also to have been done at the highest score... You know, the elections should be a festive occasion, because it is always a movement forward. And, please, pay attention that all members of the electoral commission are with smiles! I’ve also come and immediately said: ‘I congratulate you all!’
What are your plans for the future?
The party will now prepare for the parliamentary elections, and we hope to achieve certain success there. You know, today the Liberal Democratic Party can boast of so many wonderful young members that will fight on equal ground with any candidate by the time of the next Presidential elections.
Sergei Gaidukevich comments on the first results of the elections:
The elections have been held in compliance with the Constitution and the existing legislation. The turnout was very high, which cannot but make us happy. It’s also clear that the elections have been won by Alexander Lukashenko in the first round. We’ve also conducted the exit poll, the results of which have completely coincided with those that have been announced by the official sources. The result makes us happy. As a result, the whole Belarusian nation has won. Let us all work together for the benefit of our beautiful country.
Reason for optimism
From early morning, presidential candidate Nikolay Ulakhovich was answering telephone calls from friends and colleagues wishing to send their best wishes on his special day. He decided to visit his polling station, located in the Belarusian State Technological University’s hostel #5, together with his wife Raisa, and admitted to our MT reporter on the way:
Photo by Yuriy Mazalevskiy
I have enough reasons to be optimistic. I consider that this phase of my life was successful. I think I’ve won the major victory — over myself — because I ventured upon a solid step despite the fact that I’ve never been engaged in politics. I’m sure I won’t lose these elections due to the fact that I support the current government.
When the Ulakhovich family appeared at the polling station #54, 70 percent of the population has already voted, according to Natalia Korovkina, the chair of the electoral commission. The deputies of the Italian Parliament, who observed the elections from the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, were closely following the process of voting. Mr. Ulakhovich didn’t say for whom he had voted, but his wife didn’t hide the fact that she had always supported her husband. Ulakhovich’s son and daughter also made their choice, and the parents have no doubt: the right one. Mr. Ulakhovich willingly answered the questions:
Tell us about your impressions of the election campaign.
The elections were peaceful and dignified. The media has worked actively and comprehensively, supporting all candidates informatively so I was able to become recognisable in the crowd in a very short period of time and go to the end of the race. Of course I would like to thank my staff too.
What’s going to be next?
I want to take part in the parliamentary elections.
Nikolay Ulakhovich gave an estimation to the first results of the voting:
I was ready for such result. We must take a sober look at things: Alexander Lukashenko is a prominent politician with great experience, people love him, and he is respected in the world. I sincerely congratulate him and wish to materialise everything! As for me, I think, I have been given a unique opportunity to demonstrate that there is another party that is always ready to support him.
International observers’ opinion
Razmik Khumaryan, an international observer and Deputy Director of the CIS Executive Committee’s Department:
I was lucky to have worked in Belarus from 2000 to 2003. I deliberately say that I ‘was lucky’, because it’s even difficult to imagine a more benevolent and open nation than Belarusians. Even at that time the successes of your wonderful country were impressive, but at present… the changes for the better are even apparent visually: it’s beautiful, clean, cosy, and the construction is on the rise. I visited 11 polling stations in Grodno as part of the observation mission on the Election Day. Everything was planned and organised very clearly, with electoral commissions working without failures, as a well adjusted mechanism. I don’t have any significant remarks. The major conclusion is that people make their choice freely and consciously.
Peter Bachmeier, Chairman of the Austrian-Belarusian Society, Professor:
I think that current Presidential elections will change the attitude of Europeans towards Belarus for the better. The EU has already started to develop relations with Minsk, and the Austrian Foreign Minister has been here in May and met President Lukashenko.
The attitude of the Austrians towards your country has always been good. Personally for me Belarus is a country which has preserved past achievements, including education, industry, social benefits and guarantees for people. I believe this deserves to be preserved and to be developed further.
Mikhail Morgulis, Head of the Spiritual Diplomacy Foundation, the USA:
It’s now impossible to speak about the elections and not to connect them with something greater. Everything that is happening in Belarus, including these elections, is happening in the context of several more events. They are occurring in the context of the Minsk Agreements, which were adopted upon the initiative of the President of Belarus, and, of course, in the contest of the President’s speech in the UN where he very clearly outlined much of what others were thinking.
Belarus has made a name for itself. The President said in his speech that Belarus feels as a European country and he showed by this that Belarus also takes care and is concerned about Europe’s future. I’ve always called Belarus a gate between the East and the West and I say that anyone who enters this gate will become a friend of Belarus while those who will be flailing around the gate won’t ever bring to life their endeavours.
Zakhari Zakhariev, Chairman of the Federation for Friendship with the Peoples of Russia and the CIS and the Head of the Slavyani Foundation (Bulgaria):
We all know and see the positive role of Minsk as part of the Minsk Process. Without exaggeration, this is the major event of the world policy and the constructive position of your President has played an important role. Everyone takes this into account. I hope to God they don’t only take these into account but remove all these, in my opinion absurd and senseless, sanctions. There’re already signals about this but not only signals are needed but also concrete actions of the EU in this direction.
Dragomir Karic, a parliamentary deputy, the head of the group of friendship between Serbia and Belarus and Honorary Consul of Belarus to Belgrade:
Everything is very democratic and in a civilised manner. People are smiling and cheerful. People visited polling stations in whole families, and even with nursing babies. It’s seen that this is a truly family holiday for you. On the other hand, I was glad to see that people are aware of the fact that the destiny of the country is determined during the Presidential elections. Maybe this is why voting turnout already totalled 55 percent as of 14.00. As an observer who has visited many countries I can say that the election process is perfectly organised in your state; conditions for voting are perfect, everything is transparent, with music playing everywhere and various tasty food being sold nearby. At the particular moment I even wished to vote myself. It’s a pity I couldn’t do this. However, I know for sure that those in the West can be envious of your elections.
Elections should be organised exclusively according to the laws and rules which are operating in the country. The West often tries to impose their own laws and principles to small countries, including Belarus. However, it’s necessary to respect oneself and you are doing right that you defend your right for independent policy.
Even before the Election Day I chatted much with simple people: taxi drivers and waiters, without disclosing my status. They all told me that they would go to vote and will do this in the way they seem necessary. For me as an observer, free expression of citizens’ will is the most vital.
Yelena Perminova, a representative of the CIS observation mission and deputy of Belarus-Russia Union State Parliamentary Assembly:
On the Election Day we’ve visited over two dozen polling stations and, on the eve, on Saturday, we were in the Ruba settlement to monitor early voting. High activity of Belarusian citizens arouses respect, as does their responsible civil position. I’d like to note the work in Vitebsk Region which I’ve visited: all polling stations were very well prepared and necessary conditions were created for voters, members of election commissions and observers, whom there were many at each polling station. We were given all possible assistance from the regional executive committee, with maximum information provided. By the evening on October 11th, I didn’t hear a single remark at polling stations, and I don’t have these either.
Tatiana Moskalkova, a CIS observer, deputy of the State Duma of the Russian Federation, Deputy Chair of the Committee on CIS Affairs, Eurasian Integration and Ties with Compatriots, Major General of the Internal Ministry:
In comparison to the previous campaign, the legislation in Belarus has changed in a positive way, the index of democracy has risen, we see observers from different political forces at all polling stations. In Vitebsk region we can see transparent ballot boxes at all polling stations. I see it as a very progressive step, as it clearly shows that only one voting paper is put in the ballot box, the possibility of falsification is excluded. And the filling of the ballot boxes shows that the voter turnout is very high. This was evident during the early voting; on Saturday, we visited four polling stations. I was surprised that so many people come in advance the day before the voting in order not to miss the chance to express their will.
For me as for a Russian observer it’s important that the Belarusian legislation provides the requirement of the minimum voter turnout of at least 50 percent, which can clearly define the legitimacy of elections. We have no such requirements and it always causes dispute in society whether it is possible to recognise the elections of the municipality head as legitimate if the voter turnout was extremely low, whether such elections reflect the will of the people. There are no such problems here.
Khaidar Valeev, a CIS international observer:
This isn’t the first time I’m in Belarus during the elections. This time I also note substantial preparation. Rooms within the polling stations are comfortable and all documentation has been verified. I’m pleased with voters’ activity, and the voting turnout is also good. Early voting, enabling citizens to vote if they fail to come on the Election Day due to various reasons, also impresses.
It’s felt that the voting is gentle and civil. There’re no clashes and conflict situations which require interference of law enforcement bodies. Belarus has always surprised with its order and cleanness. I think that Belarusian people have with what to compare, seeing what’s happening in the neighbouring Ukraine. Your country has become a territory of peace in all senses of this word while peaceful initiative of President Lukashenko, who tries to put all his powers and opportunities to ensure peace among our brothers, is a landmark phenomenon.
Svetlana Savitskaya, an international observer, Deputy Chair of the Parliamentary Assembly Committee of Belarus-Russia Union State on Security, Defence and Crime Control, Deputy Chair of the State Duma Committee on Defence:
It’s not the first time I act as an observer during the elections in Belarus. I have visited 7 polling stations during the first half of the main voting day, and I visited one of them during its preparation and opening. These elections are calmer, and it’s clear that people come to the polling stations already knowing all the candidates. In Russia voters often study the list of candidates just before voting, at the polling station. I haven’t noticed any violations, but the activity of people is noticeable.
In Russia both the Presidential elections and the elections of deputies of the State Duma are always characterised by a high turnout of voters. Young people come in large companies and have fun. There are special concerns both for organisers of the elections and observers, e.g., to prevent notorious ‘carousel voting’. In Belarus, as I have noticed, ‘carousel voting’ is absent at all. And the elections happen calmer and even in a family manner. In this context the early voting is very convenient as people have the opportunity to vote in advance and to have a ride with the family at the weekend. On the whole, Belarus is a calm country, confident in its future. All past decades prove it, and the course of these elections show the same.
Mikhail Lebedinsky, a CIS observation mission, Chairman of the Committee for Local Self-government, International and Interconfessional Relations of the Leningrad Region Administration:
We’ve been to several polling stations, with very high voter turnout. During first thirty minutes of the voting the polling station #18 in Vitebsk’s Zheleznodorozhny District was attended by 40 voters. We see that everything is legitimate, transparent, with no violations. This is also confirmed by inner observers. I’ve paid attention that early voting is much more active in your country compared to other states where I had to work as an observer. I don’t see anything seditious in this, since it’s comfortable for many and such approach gives more opportunities in order to express one’s own will. A closed list of reasons has been established in Russia for early voting. Absence on the election day should be proven by documentary evidence and this does affect the voter turnout.
Alexander Kichigin, an international observer from the CIS mission (Russia, Kursk Region):
It happened so that I had had a rest for two weeks in Gomel Region just before the elections and was able to plunge into the media world of political pre-election life in Belarus. In my opinion, all candidates for presidency had the opportunity to get their ideas over to the electorate. This process was open and the voters had an opportunity to evaluate the politicians. The same openness and equal opportunities I can see today at the polling stations.
Serik Egizbayev, CIS Executive Committee observer, Deputy Head of the Department of State Control and Organisational and Territorial Work of the Presidential Administration of the Republic of Kazakhstan:
I assess the elections positively. It’s nice to see that people are going to vote as if on holiday. We’ve visited a lot of polling stations in the morning. We met ordinary voters and observers from the OSCE. Nobody could say anything bad. Before the trip to Belarus we’ve carefully studied the Belarusian electoral legislation. Having visited the polling stations I can say that we recorded no violations. The voting takes place within the law.
Bahram Haidari, an OSCE representative (polling stations №№ 44, 45 and 46, Minsk):
I have no questions and complaints concerning the voting. Moreover, at this elections I can see the atmosphere of exceptional goodwill.