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Last Updated: Tuesday, 19 October, 2004, 12:48 GMT 13:48 UK
Press denounces Belarus poll
Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko
President Lukashenko can run for a third term in office

Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko is condemned by many commentators in countries bordering on the ex-Soviet republic for Sunday's referendum, which allowed him to run for office again.

Election monitors highlighted numerous irregularities.

While some Russian papers appeared restrained, independent newspapers in Belarus joined in the general chorus of criticism.

Lukashenko's desire to rule eternally is now only dependent on the president's own ability to live eternally.

Latvian newspaper Diena

To doubt whether Lukashenko will rule our Belarussian brothers for the foreseeable - and maybe, the unforeseeable - future, is the same as wondering whether snow will fall in winter.

Russia's Komsomolskaya Pravda

Lukashenko has reinforced his status as a dictator. The "old man" has yet again demonstrated to the entire world that he is a worthy student of Stalin, having turned the procedure of the nationwide election into a farce.

Russia's Moskovskiy Komsomolets

You have to give Lukashenko his due. Not everyone can be a dictator, especially the last dictator in Europe. And quite possibly, such a leader is the best option for Belarus today.

Russia's Rossiyskaya Gazeta

The fact that Lukashenko has not sold out Belarus either to the West or to Russian oligarchs is one of the principal reasons for the support which the people have shown him.

Russia's Pravda

Winners are not judged, especially when the judges are appointed by the winners.

Belarus independent daily Belorusskaya Gazeta

What happened in the referendum on 17 October? In our opinion, nothing special or surprising. We were just deceived one more time... How many more such "elegant victories" will our country have to face?

Belarus opposition paper Narodnaya Volya

If Alexander Lukashenko gained victory in 2004, this does not mean at all that he will be able to win in 2006. Provided of course that the democratic electorate does not emigrate in full.

Belarus independent newspaper Belorusskaya Delovaya Gazeta

With an almost Soviet turnout of 89.7% ... the puppet parliament will be nothing but an empty facade.

Poland's Gazeta Wyborcza

Despite glaring contempt for world opinion, the Belarusian dictator is not completely independent of it.

Poland's Rzeczpospolita

If the Belarussian Central Electoral Commission is to be believed, more than 70% of Belarussians do not see how absurd the situation is.

Ukrainian Den

Belarus is a country of poor people - this is why Lukashenko's "elegant victory" was possible. Trying to eke out a living, the poor do not have enough time to consider why their lives have become even more wretched after the 10 years that their "favourite" has spent in power.

Ukrainian opposition paper Ukrayina Moloda

Lithuania will have to live next to a dictatorship for a long time.

Lithuania's Lietuvos Rytas

BBC Monitoring, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.

Observers deplore Belarus vote
18 Oct 04 |  Europe
OSCE slams Belarus vote: Text
18 Oct 04 |  Europe
Q&A: Belarus votes
16 Oct 04 |  Europe
Profile: Alexander Lukashenko
10 Jul 04 |  Europe
Country profile: Belarus
08 Mar 02 |  Country profiles

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