Lukashenko has been in power in the country since 1994. He has won all presidential elections since then by a large majority and has been nicknamed ‘Europe’s last dictator’. According to the exit poll, the leader would get 79.9% of the vote this time.

Opposition underestimated

This year there was a serious rival candidate for Lukashenko: Svetlana Tikhanovskaya. The wife of a well-known vlogger and election candidate, who was arrested for not liking Lukashenko. Lukashenko did not have too high expectations of the woman and said earlier that she would collapse, ‘the poor soul’.

“But you notice that people are fed up with a man who has been in office for 26 years and Tichanovskaya suddenly took the votes,” says Akkermans.

Votes don’t count

Yet in the end those votes matter little. “Lukashenko has everything under control. He would win anyway,” Akkermans says. “He spoke very quickly that half of the people would have already voted, while voting in Minsk had yet to get going.”

The election commission was dismissed, foreign observers are not welcome and Lukashenko decides when the final results will come. Whether the work of Tikhanovskaya has done nothing? That should prove. “The genie is out of the bottle and she is certainly not going to give up,” says Akkermans. Lukashenko seems to know this too: for fear of protests, a huge police force is already present in Minsk.

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