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Belarus opposition leader urges EU to reject election results

Telegram från AFP / Omni
19 August 2020, 08.35

Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya on Wednesday urged EU leaders to reject the results of the presidential election which sparked massive protests and saw strongman leader Alexander Lukashenko claim a sixth term.

"I call on you not to recognise these fraudulent elections," Tikhanovskaya said in a video addressed to the European Council, adding that "Lukashenko has lost all legitimacy in the eyes of our nation and the world."

Belarus's authoritarian leader, who has controlled the isolated ex-Soviet country for 26 years, claimed victory in the August 9 election that sparked historic protests and a brutal police crackdown condemned by Western countries.

Tikhanovskaya's appeal came ahead of an emergency video conference of European Union leaders on Wednesday to discuss the election fallout in Belarus.

EU leaders including French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel this week urged Belarus's powerful ally Russia to lobby for dialogue in Minsk.

"The August 9 elections were neither fair, nor transparent. The results were falsified," the opposition leader said in the video address.

Tikhanovskaya, 37, has said she will organise new elections if Lukashenko steps down and her allies have formed a Coordination Council to ensure a transfer of power. The council is due to convene later on Wednesday.

Lukashenko, 65, has dismissed calls to resign or hold a new vote and has claimed the opposition is attempting to "seize power".

Tikhanovskaya, a political novice who fled to neighbouring Lithuania after claiming victory in the ballot, said Wednesday that the Coordination Council would "lead the process of peaceful transition of power via dialogue.

"It will immediately call for a new fair and democratic presidential election with international supervision".