It was crowded as never before at polling station #8, located at Minsk State College of Arts, on Sunday
Alexander Lukashenko has won Belarus Presidential elections, earning, according to preliminary data, 83.49 percent of votes, Lidia Yermoshina, the Chair of the Central Election Commission, told journalists.
Over 6 percent of voters voted against all candidates: a figure lower in the regions (4.38 percent in the Brest Region).
Tatiana Korotkevich received 4.42 percent of votes, while Sergei Gaidukevich earned 3.32 percent and Nikolay Ulakhovich 1.67 percent. Ms. Yermoshina underlined that data was only preliminary. The final results will be announced once regional election commissions and the election commission of the city of Minsk sign final protocols on votes for each candidate.
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 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 Vitaly 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.
Elections compliant with democratic principles
According to CIS observation mission, Presidential elections in Belarus are compliant with democratic principles
“The observation mission of the Commonwealth of Independent States concludes: the elections of October 11th, 2015, were conducted in accordance with the Constitution and the Electoral Code of Belarus. The elections met the democratic principles and were transparent, open and competitive. The authorities of Belarus and the election commissions of all levels ensured the fulfilment of the rights of citizens to free expression of will,” noted CIS observation mission head, Sergei Lebedev.
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 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:
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.
When the first results of the voting were announced, the MT reporter asked Nikolay Ulakhovich to give his assessment:
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.
OSCE General Secretary congratulates Belarusian side on successful conduct of Presidential elections
Speaking at the extended session of the CSTO Permanent Council for the Maintenance of Security in Eurasia, OSCE Secretary General Lamberto Zannier congratulated the Belarusian side on the successful conduct of the Presidential elections.
Mr. Zannier also thanked the Republic of Belarus for hosting the Ukrainian settlement talks in Minsk. In this context, the OSCE Secretary General said that Belarus is ‘a factor and guarantor of stability’.