(Angus Reid Global Scan) - Many adults in Russia believe the current head of state of a former Soviet republic will be re-elected this weekend, according to a poll by the All-Russian Public Opinion Research Center. 60 per cent of respondents believe Aleksandr Lukashenko will win the presidential ballot in Belarus.
In October 2004, Belarusian voters renewed their legislative branch and participated in a referendum to remove an article in the constitution that limits presidents to two consecutive five-year terms. 47 per cent of respondents in Russia say they would have voted to allow Lukashenko to run again.
The Belarusian presidential election is scheduled for Mar. 19. Opposition candidates and supporters have repeatedly complained about harassment from the authorities, and presidential contender Aleksandr Kozulin was arrested earlier this month for allegedly "pushing a policeman" and "damaging a picture of the president at the police station."
In May 2005, United States president George W. Bush referred to Belarus as "the last remaining dictatorship in Europe," adding, "When the elections come, make sure the elections are free, and have monitors and international observers. As you know, that made a big difference in the Ukraine."
Lukashenko and Russian president Vladimir Putin signed a bilateral treaty in late 1999, where the two nations agreed to eventually merge their tax systems and currencies.
Who do you think will win the presidential election in Belarus?
Some other candidate
Hard to answer
In a referendum held in 2004, Belarusian voters allowed Lukashenko to become a presidential candidate for the third time. If you were a citizen of Belarus, how would you have voted in that referendum?
To allow Lukashenko to run again
No forbid Lukashenko from running again
Hard to answer
Source: All-Russian Public Opinion Research Center
Methodology: Interviews with 1,600 Russian adults, conducted on Feb. 26 and Feb. 27, 2006. Margin of error is 3.4 per cent.