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Belarus held a presidential election on Sunday 9 August 2020, with early voting taking place from 4 – 8 August.

In the weeks leading up to the election there were large rallies against the incumbent president, despite an increasing crackdown on the opposition and several arrests.

Leading rival candidates such as Viktor Babaryko, Sergei Tikhanovsky and Valery Tsepkalo were all eventually banned or prevented from running bids.

Their wives then decided to stand for election instead, with Svetlana Tikhanovskaya becoming the face of the opposition movement.

President Alexander Lukashenko was declared the winner by election authorities, securing a sixth term in office; a position he has held since 1994 when the current presidential system of government was first adopted.

There have been allegations of widespread vote-rigging and the opposition has disputed the results, with supporters of Ms Tikhanovskaya insisting she won.

Since the election thousands of protesters have taken to the streets and Ms Tikhanovskaya has fled to neighbouring Lithuania, while many in the international community – including the UK Government – have declared the elections to be neither free nor fair and have rejected the result.

Analysis of post-election events and the ongoing unrest in Belarus is available in Commons Briefing Paper CBP-9002, Belarus: where next? (8 September 2020).

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