2020 Belarusian presidential election
The 2020 Belarusian presidential election was held on Sunday, 9 August 2020. Early voting began on 4 August and ran until 8 August.
The president was elected directly to serve for five years. Incumbent Alexander Lukashenko was reelected to a sixth term in office, with official results crediting him with 80% of the vote. Lukashenko has won every presidential election since 1994, with all but the first being labelled by international monitors as neither free nor fair.
Opposition candidate Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya claimed to have won a decisive first-round victory with at least 60% of the vote, and called on Lukashenko to start negotiations. Her campaign subsequently formed the Coordination Council to facilitate a transfer of power and stated that it was ready to organize "long-term protests" against the official results. Initially open to dialogue, Lukashenko gradually stiffened his position on negotiations and reforms, eventually accusing the opposition of extremism sponsored by external, "Western" sources.
All opposition candidates have filed appeals to the Central Election Commission calling for the results to be invalidated. The election was marred by allegations of widespread electoral fraud. Numerous countries refused to accept the result of the election, as did the European Union, which imposed sanctions on Belarusian officials deemed to be responsible for "violence, repression and election fraud". The results of the election led to widespread protests in Belarus.
On 8 May 2020, the National Assembly set 9 August as the date for the presidential election.
Incumbent President Alexander Lukashenko has been leading the country since the first presidential elections held in 1994. Over the next two years, he rapidly consolidated his power. In 1995, he won a referendum that gave him the power to dissolve the legislature if he felt it contravened the Constitution. In 1996, he won another referendum that dramatically increased his power, and also extended his original five-year term to 2001. Since then, his regime has been reckoned as an authoritarian dictatorship by Western observers. Opposition activists are often pressured or detained by the government, and Lukashenko or those loyal to him control (as of 2020) all of the seats in both houses of the National Assembly, all judicial appointments, the media, and the CEC (which has the power to approve or deny candidates for political offices).
The President of Belarus is elected using the two-round system. If no candidate obtains over 50% of the vote, a second round is held with the top two candidates. The winner of the second round is elected. A turnout quorum of 50% is applied.
Despite the two-round system being in place, a second round has not been required since 1994. In the previous four elections, Lukashenko claimed margins of 77% or more in the first round. No election since 1994 has met international standards of transparency and fairness.Denied candidates
- Viktar Babaryka – former Chairman of the Management Board of OJSC Belgazprombank
- On 14 July the CEC voted unanimously to deny Babaryka's registration due to an alleged inconsistency in his submitted income and property declaration.
- Valery Tsepkalo – founder and former director (2005–2017) of the Belarusian High Technology Park
- On 30 June the CEC announced that Tsepkalo had only gathered 75,249 valid signatures (out of 160,000 he had submitted). This was below the 100,000 required to run for president. On 24 July, fearing arrest, Tsepkalo fled to Russia with his two children.
- Siarhei Tsikhanouski – political and business YouTube blogger
- He was taken to prison after a provocation in Hrodna, before Alexander Lukashenko mentioned that Tsikhanouski was fighting against a police officer and that the authorities found $900,000 in his second house. During the sentencing, Tsikhanouski stated that he had no idea about the money found by the authorities. Lukashenko also confirmed that Tsikhanouski was detained by the authorities after giving his command.
- Yuri Hantsevich – farmer and blogger
- Yuras Hubarevich – head of the Movement "For Freedom"
- Volha Kavalkova – co-chairman of the organizing committee for the establishment of the Belarusian Christian Democracy
- Mikalai Kazlou – acting chairman of United Civic Party of Belarus
- Natallia Kisel – individual entrepreneur
- Vladimir Nepomnyashchikh – pensioner
- Ales Tabolich – musician, frontman of the folk-metal band Znich
- Alena Anisim – Member of the House of Representatives of Belarus (pro-opposition independent)
- Aleh Gaidukevich – (Liberal Democratic Party of Belarus)
- Siarhei Skrabets – former Member of the House of Representatives of Belarus
- Mikola Statkevich – head of the People's Hramada and former presidential candidate
- Aliaksei Yanukevich – former chairman of the Belarusian Popular Front Party
In January 2020, five opposition forces, the Movement "For Freedom", Belarusian Christian Democracy, Belarusian Social Democratic Party (Assembly), BPF Party and United Civic Party of Belarus reached a definite agreement to hold primaries to field a single candidate from the Belarusian opposition. Yury Hubarevich (For Freedom), Paval Sieviaryniec, Volha Kavalkova (both BCD), Aliaksei Yanukevich (BPF) and Mikalai Kazlou (UCPB) were listed as potential candidates.
The Belarusian Green Party announced that it would not participate in the primaries and the election.
The Belarusian Left Party "A Just World" called for a boycott of the election, describing the election a "political farce″.