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PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION: MYTHS OR REALITY

According to polling results, about 90% of registered voters (92.3% as per the Central Election Commission) took part in the voting. This is more than the number of those who voted at the parliamentary election and at the referendum of October of 2006 (90.3% according to the Central Election Commission, and 87.3% according to the data of independent Gallup’s Institute.) About 25.7% of respondents voted ahead of term on March 14-18, which is again less than according to Election Commission’s data (31.1%); and every sixth of them admitted that he/she “was pressed to vote ahead of term.” The number of those who voted against all or who spoilt ballots is almost the same as announced by the Central Election Commission. However, similarity of official and real results of the presidential election ends up right there.

Table. Results of voting at the presidential election, %

Voted:

Data of Central Election Commission

Data of pre-election opinion poll*

Data of after-election opinion poll*

Data of after-election opinion poll**

For S. Gaidukevich

3.5

5.0

2.1

1.0

For A. Kozulin

2.2

7.0

4.8

3.7

For A. Lukashenko

83.0

64.7

63.6

60.3

For A. Milinkevich

6.1

18.3

20.6

18.4

Against all (including mutilated ballots)

5.2

5.0

3.4

1.6

DA/NA

5.5

12.4

* Calculated based on 90% appearance. Pre-election polling was conducted on February of 2006
** Answers to the open question “If the presidential election takes place tomorrow, for whom would you vote? (only one name can be given)”. These figures need to be revised (i.e. they will be a little higher) as about 10% of respondents wouldn’t vote in this case.

    • The official and the real data of pre-term voting are markedly different (31% vs. 25%), yet statement of the opposition about “mass forced per-term voting” is not true. This is what about 17% of respondents said;

 

    • Although almost two thirds of voters watched performances of candidates on TV, these performances didn’t influence considerably their electoral preferences (only 9.3% of respondents said that these performances “influenced greatly” their voting preferences);

 

    • Almost 20% (i.e. approximately 1,200,000 votes) have been re-allocated in favor of the president in the office;

 

    • The number of votes cast for alternative candidates was, on the contrary, cut: for A. Kozulin – more than twofold and for A. Milinkevich – more than threefold;

 

    • Even though only 57.9% said the presidential election was “free and fair”, about 40% of them (taking into account those who didn’t come to vote), which is almost 2,750,000 persons, didn’t support A. Lukashenko and this way aired their discontent with his course;

 

    • It is not so much the opposition or outside forces which is a major reason of growing discontent in the society but rather activity of the Belarusians authorities itself: the number of those who suffered offence from governmental bodies has increased by a third for the past year and made 36.5% percent;

 

  • Undoubtedly, there is a social basis for changes in Belarus but readiness of the Belarusian society to changes should be neither underestimated (which the authorities do) nor overestimated (which the opposition does).