MINSK, September 16. /TASS/. Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has accused foreign strategists of trying to sow discord among that country’s state elite.
"Foreign strategists tried to sow discord among the state elite and test its loyalty to the president," the BelTA news agency quotes him as saying.
"Foreign strategists tried to reach out to each social stratum in Belarus, creating ‘heroes' for different target audiences," Lukashenko stressed.
He made a statement on an attempt to split the Belarusian elite referring to the nomination of his former assistant Valery Tsepkalo as a presidential candidate. However, that diplomat, businessman and head of the Belarusian Hi-Tech Park could not take part in the election. The Central Election Commission refused to register him, saying that he failed to collect the required 100,000 of signatures in support of his nomination. Tsepkalo, together with his two children, fled Belarus before the election after receiving information about his impending arrest and is currently in Poland.
Nationwide demonstrations have engulfed Belarus following the August 9 presidential election. According to the Central Election Commission’s official results, incumbent President Alexander Lukashenko won by a landslide, garnering 80.10% of the vote. His closest rival in the race, Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, came in second, with 10.12% of the ballot. However, she refused to recognize the election’s outcome, and left Belarus for Lithuania. After the results of the exit polls were announced late on August 9, mass protests erupted in downtown Minsk and other Belarusian cities. During the early post-election period, the rallies snowballed into fierce clashes between the protesters and police. The current unrest is being cheered on by the opposition’s Coordination Council, which has been beating the drum for more protests. In response, the Belarusian authorities have castigated the ongoing turmoil and demanded that these unauthorized demonstrations be stopped.