Longest Presidential Term In Europe: Alexander Lukashenko Took Office 23 Years Ago

On 10 July, 1994, 40-year-old Deputy of the Supreme Council Alexander Lukashenko won the 2nd round of the presidential election in Belarus with 80.1% of the vote.

Ten days later the inauguration of the first president of Belarus took place.

The July 12 cover of the Sovetskaya Belorussiya newspaper said “Alexander Lukashenko, the first presodent of Belarus”

Initially, there were six candidates running for the post.

In the first round on 23 June Alexander Lukashenko, who campaigned as an independent on a populist platform, won 45.1% of the vote.

The then Prime Minister Vyacheslav Kebich received 17.4%, while other candidates got less than 15% of the votes each.

Lukashenko and Kebich proceeded to the second round.

An article comparing Kebich and Lukashenko in Sovetskaya Belorussiya.

Interestingly, one of the members of the future president’s team, economist Sergey Chaly, later recalled that they had estimated that the candidate would get 51% already in the first round.

We gathered to decide if we should look for those missing votes or keep on working. I suggested we should not panic. I said it was a unique chance for us and we would get an even bigger vote in the first round against Kebich

It actually happened so.

On 10 July, 1994 the future first Belarusian president won the second round of the election with over 80% of the vote.

Voter turnout was 79.0% in the first round and 70.6% in the second.

In 2015, Alexander Lukashenko publicly stated that in 1994 he had won in the first round of the election, but was deprived of the victory because of falsifications.

Votes for Alexander Lukashenko, 1994-2015 (official data)

1994: 80.6%

2001: 75.6%

2006: 82.6%

2010: 79.6%

2015: 83.5%

Another curious fact about the standoff in that election is that Lukashenko, as he revealed later in memoirs, offered Kebich to campaign as one team and introduce a post of the Vice President for the latter.

The Prime Minister refused.

Kebich, in his turn, attributed his defeat to three reasons: dissatisfaction of the population due to economic crisis, loss of Moscow’s support and betrayal by his comrades.

During 23 years in power, the Belarusian leader would be winning other presidential elections with the results similar to his first one.

These official data are always disputed by the opposition and Western observers, who have not recognized any Belarus election as fair and democratic since 1994.

Source: TUT.BY