Lukashenko refuses to relinquish power despite mounting pressure

Moscow, Aug 14 (efe-epa).- Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has refused to relinquish power and call new elections despite mounting pressure from his people and the international community.

“To begin with I am still alive and not abroad as some of our esteemed know-it-alls repeat over and over again,” he said on Friday during a government meeting.

He is facing growing pressure from inside and outside his country and has only been backed by Russia and China.

Lukashenko has hardly made any statements since he accused other countries of being behind protests that have gripped Belarus since he was declared the winner of presidential elections on Sunday.

The opposition gave him a new ultimatum on Friday to call a new vote before 15 September.

He was expected to address the nation but instead limited himself to speaking against a general strike after some companies and factories were reported to have partially suspended their operations.

Belarus’s Central Election Commission officially announced Lukashenko the winner of last week’s vote.

Lukashenko, who has been in power since 1994, won 80.1 percent of the votes, while unified opposition candidate Svetlana Tsikhanouskaya won 10 percent, according to the CEC.

This will see him serve a sixth presidential term, although his victory has been rejected by the opposition and the majority of international governments.

Tsikhanouskaya said in her first video message since she fled to Lithuania on Tuesday: “The majority of Belarusians do not believe in his victory.

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