Issued on: 09/08/2020 – 09:55
Belarus began voting in an election on Sunday pitting President Alexander Lukashenko against a former teacher who emerged from obscurity to lead the biggest challenge in years against the man once dubbed "Europe's last dictator" by Washington.
The 65-year-old Lukashenko is almost certain to win a sixth consecutive term but could face a new wave of protests amid anger over his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, the economy and his human rights record.
An ongoing crackdown on the opposition could hurt Lukashenko's attempts to mend fences with the West amid fraying ties with traditional ally Russia, which has tried to press Belarus into closer economic and political union.
A former Soviet collective farm manager, Lukashenko has ruled since 1994.
International election observers 'haven't even been invited' for Belarus vote
He faces a surprise rival in Svetlana Tikhanouskaya, a former English teacher ..