Belarus opposition leader claims election victory

Belarus opposition candidate has challenged the results of last Sunday’s presidential race.

The country’s Central Election Committee said on Friday declared the incumbent President Alexander Lukashenko’s victory, caliming he won 80 percent of the votes, while his main rival Svetlana Tikhanouskaya garnered 10 percent.

Ms. Tikhanouskaya released a video message in neighboring Lithuania, where she fled to safety following the ballot.

In the video, she virtually announced her election victory saying results from precincts where ballots were fairly counted show her winning 60 to 70 percent of the vote.

She vowed to form a coordinating conference consisting of representatives of civic groups and distinguished Belarusians to take over the reins of government.

She is seeking support from European nations and has asked them to mediate a dialogue with the incumbent government.

Another opposition hopeful is a former diplomat whose candidacy was denied. Valery Tsepkalo, who now lives in Ukraine, announced the formation of his National Salvation Front that aims to oust Lukashenko.

He has expressed hope for Russia’s involvement in resolving the issue. Observers say the response of President Vladimir Putin’s government will be closely watched.

READ: Belarusian leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya flees to Lithuania amid political unrest and violence over election results