BELARUS has made headlines following a faked election which has sparked widespread unrest. Where is Belarus? Is Belarus in the EU?
Belarus is in the grip of a national crisis following a rigged general election we saw the re-installment of one of Europe’s last dictators. Alexander Lukashenko ‘won’ the general election last week with a supposed 80 percent of the vote, which has been widely derided by other nations and caused widespread unrest across the eastern European country.
Demonstrators have clashed violently with police as they seek to overturn the botched result, which has left the country reeling
Lukashenko first came to power in 1994 amid the collapse of the Soviet Union, and elections under his rule have never been free nor fair.
The events are a repeat of what happened following the last election held in 2010, in which Lukashenko also won with 80 percent of the vote.
Belarus is considered the last Soviet-style dictatorship in Europe, and the outrage of the Belarusian people after 26 years of autocratic rule could finally be coming to an end.
Lukashenko has further exacerbated the situation by declaring there will be no new election “until you kill me” at a factory.
“You talk about dishonest elections and want to hold new elections,” Lukashenko told the crowd.
“My response to this — we held the elections and until you kill me, there won’t be any new elections.”
Lukashenko is known for his violent ways, and is known to be responsible for several political murders.
Is Belarus part of the EU? Where is Belarus?
Geographically Belarus is in Europe, but it is not part of the EU and has never asked for membership.
Belarus is a landlocked country in eastern Europe, and is located between Lithuania, Russia, Latvia, Poland and Ukraine.
After Lukashenko became Belarusian leader in 1994, the relationship between Minsk and the EU deteriorated and has remained cold and distanced with few improvements over time, as the EU has condemned the Government of Belarus several times for authoritarian and anti-democratic practices, and even imposed sanctions on the country.
The EU declared that “election night was marred with disproportionate and unacceptable state violence against peaceful protesters”.
The Government has also confirmed that it does not recognise the result of the election.
The EU has now moved towards sanctions for the country.
Lithuania is currently hosting Lukashenko’s exiled opposition Svetlana Tikhanovskaya.
Poland, Latvia and Lithuania say they are ready to act as mediators to try to resolve the post-election crisis, after a poll that Brussels has already said was “neither free nor fair”.
Lithuania also on Friday offered to treat Belarusians injured during the protests and suggested setting up the EU fund to support “the victims of repression”.
EU leaders will meet again via video conference on Wednesday to discuss the situation, European Council President Charles Michel said on Monday.
“The people of Belarus have the right to decide on their future and freely elect their leader,” Michel said in a tweet.
“Violence against protesters is unacceptable and cannot be allowed.”