Belarus election: Opposition leader Tikhanovskaya 'safe' in Lithuania

Published by BBC.COM

Summary generated on August 11, 2020

    Election results gave President Alexander Lukashenko 80%, but Ms Tikhanovskaya refuses to accept them.

    The election campaign saw the rise of Ms Tikhanovskaya, 37, a former teacher who was a stay-at-home mother until she was thrust into the political spotlight.

    President Lukashenko has dismissed Ms Tikhanovskaya as a "Poor little girl", manipulated by foreign "Puppet masters".

    Ms Tikhanovskaya told reporters that she had in fact won the election, and called on the authorities to relinquish power peacefully.

    Svetlana Tikhanovskaya went missing after lodging an official complaint about the election result.

    On Monday, the KGB security service in Belarus claimed it foiled a plot to assassinate the opposition candidate - and make her a "Sacrificial lamb", for protesters.

    The fact Svetlana Tikhanovskaya has fled won't affect the unprecedented mass protests that have rocked Belarus for a second night - crowds clashing with riot police.

    She only ran for president after her activist husband was arrested - and for voters, Svetlana Tikhanovskaya has always been a symbol of change, a route to that, rather than a leader.

    European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen called for the election results to be published, saying harassment and repression had no place in Europe.

    Individual EU countries expressed support for the demonstrators, and neighbouring Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky said doubts over the election were "a direct road to violence, conflict and growing public outcry".