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在线翻译:
szdaily -> Person of the week
Belarus leader Lukashenko wins fifth term
     2015-October-16  08:53    Shenzhen Daily

    Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko won a fifth term with 83.49 percent of the vote, the head of the central electoral commission said Monday.

    ALEXANDER LUKASHENKO on Monday won a fifth term as president of Belarus by a landslide, and warned the opposition against protests that could derail the lifting of Western sanctions imposed over rights abuse allegations.

    The veteran leader ran against three virtual unknowns — only one of whom campaigned.

    Lukashenko took 83.49 percent of the vote, election chief Lidiya Yermoshina said Oct. 11, with his nearest rival Tatiana Korotkevich mustering just 4.42 percent of the ballot.

    The result is the highest ever for Lukashenko, whose government made a huge effort to ensure a high turnout of over 86 percent.

    The process was closely watched by the European Union, with officials indicating the bloc was ready to lift sanctions against the leader if the aftermath of the polls remained incident-free.

    While Lukashenko allowed an unauthorized opposition rally in the capital to go ahead without police intervention, he warned that he would not tolerate such protests after the vote.

    A shrewd operator and exploiter of tensions between Moscow and the West, Lukashenko recently raised his standing with the EU by hosting peace talks in Minsk on the conflict in eastern Ukraine.

    Despite at times prickly relations with Moscow, he and Belarus’s Soviet-style planned economy are propped up by Russia, which supplies the country of 9.5 million with discount price energy.

    Lukashenko, 61, was once called Europe’s “last dictator” by Washington, and now has the mandate to extend his 21-year grip on the landlocked eastern European country.

    The last elections in 2010 led to mass street protests against his victory, triggering a crackdown during which a number of leading opposition figures were arrested.

    Lukashenko’s subsequent incarceration of his opponents led to his international isolation and the imposition of Western sanctions against him.

    Now a mooted EU move to suspend the punitive measures, also following the surprise release in August of the country’s last political prisoners, has sparked an outcry from Belarussian opposition figures who have waged a long campaign against Lukashenko.

    But relations with Moscow have still shown some signs of strain.

    In September, Russian President Vladimir Putin approved a plan to build an airbase in Belarus, but early this month Lukashenko said his country had no need for such a base, appearing to bow to public protests on the eve of the election.

    Previous elections in Belarus were considered unfair by Western observers and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

    The OSCE presented a report on their election monitoring Monday, after which Brussels released a formal statement, an EU spokesman said.

    Lukashenko had the lowest result in the capital Minsk where 65.58 percent of voters backed him, while in a striking figure, 20.6 percent in Minsk voted against all candidates, the most popular option for those who opposed the long-serving leader.

    Lukashenko is believed to be grooming his son Nikolai, known as Kolya, as his successor. The 11-year-old, who regularly accompanies the president at official engagements, cast his father’s ballot for him at a polling station near their home in Minsk.

    The Belarussian leader enjoys a degree of popular support for his folksy, outspoken style and his regime’s durability.

    Liudmila Vauchok, a six-time Paralympic medalist in cross-country skiing and rowing, said she voted for Lukashenko because he brought “reliability and calm.”

    “Whatever happens, Belarus is flourishing,” Vauchok said. “Our system is established. I wouldn’t like to be in the president’s place as things are very complicated now. The main thing is for there not to be a war.”

    Since sweeping to power 21 years ago, Lukashenko has consolidated his hold on the former Soviet republic.

    Brought up by a single mother in a poor village in eastern Belarus, he first made his mark as the manager of a collective farm in the late 1980s.

    Moving into politics at the end of the decade, he quickly established his reputation as an outspoken man.

    In August 1991, as a member of the Belarussian parliament, he declared his support for the attempted coup by hardliners against Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.

    His iron image has stuck ever since, and it is one he is perfectly happy to defend.

    “An authoritarian style of rule is characteristic of me, and I have always admitted it,” he said in August 2003. “You need to control the country, and the main thing is not to ruin people’s lives.”

    Lukashenko’s early years in power demonstrated his commitment to this belief.

    In 1996, he disbanded parliament, which had been seeking to impeach him, and also strengthened his control over the judiciary.

    The new parliament which emerged was hand-picked, and subsequent elections to its successor in 2000 were widely condemned.

    It is an approach to power which has won Lukashenko few friends and even relations with Russia, Belarus’s chief ally, have appeared to cool since Moscow moved to end subsidized oil and gas supplies.

    However, Russian observers said they saw little wrong with the 2006 vote and the two countries have long been in talks on forming a “union state.”

    Lukashenko appears undeterred by criticism, whether it be from home or abroad.

    “I’ve been hearing these accusations for over 10 years and we got used to it,” he said. “We are not going to answer them. I want to come from the premise that the elections in Belarus are held for ourselves. I am sure that it is the Belarus people who are the masters in our state.”

    In 1975, Lukashenko married his high-school sweetheart, Galina Rodionovna.

    They had two children: Viktor, born in 1975, and Dmitry, born in 1980. Lukashenko also fathered an illegitimate son, Nikolai, who was born in 2004.(SD-Agencies)

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