No surprise from the Belarusian capital, following parliamentary elections held on November 17. In a stunning turn of events, all 110 MPs selected are members or loyalists of the current President, Alexander Lukashenko. The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, which monitors elections throughout the region, commented in preliminary reports that the election was marred by inconsistencies and deviation from electoral best practices, a claim that the Belarusian Ministry of Foreign Affairs called "politically motivated".
The OSCE also reported that despite the presence of opposition candidates, most were disqualified on "formalistic" grounds, and two opposition MPs from the previous Parliament were prevented from running on technicalities.
The election saw a turnout of 77.22%, according to data provided by the Belarusian Central Election Commission, and comes at a time of tension between Belarus and its traditional patron, Russia, over rumors of a unity state between the two countries, as well as the decline of subsidies provided to Belarus from Russia.
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Lukashenko, who has been re-elected for a total term span of 25 years – a record for a democratic leader in modern Europe – has stated that during next summer’s presidential elections, voters will be “free to kick him out”. Though judging by past results, it seems Belarusian vote counters may not be in agreement.