(Angus Reid Global Scan) - Aleksandr Lukashenko could earn a new five-year term as president in Belarus, according to a poll by the All-Russian Public Opinion Research Center. 60 per cent of respondents will vote for the incumbent in this Sunday's election.
Aleksandr Milinkevich of the United Democratic Opposition is second with 11 per cent, followed by Aleksandr Kozulin of the Social Democratic Party with five per cent, and Sergei Gaidukevich of the Liberal Democratic Party with one per cent.
The Belarusian presidential election is scheduled for Mar. 19. Opposition candidates and supporters have repeatedly complained about harassment from the authorities, and presidential contender Kozulin was arrested earlier this month for allegedly "pushing a policeman" and "damaging a picture of the president at the police station."
Last month, Lukashenko declared, "I want the election campaign to proceed in strict accordance with the law, unlike in other corners of the planet. I warn you that only the Belarusian people will elect the head of state, without pressure from outside."
International observers have pointed out that the conditions have not been particularly fair in previous Belarusian ballots. 39 per cent of respondents think the results of the election will be reliable, 36 per cent expect some manipulation to take place at voting stations, and 16 per cent think the results will not be reliable.
Which candidate would you vote for in the presidential election?
Undecided / No answer
Do you think the results of the presidential election will be reliable or not?
The results of election will be reliable
Some manipulations at voting places will happen, but not enough to influence the actual results
The results of election will not be reliable
Hard to answer
Source: All-Russian Public Opinion Research Center
Methodology: Interviews with 1,118 Belarusian adults, conducted from Mar. 6 to Mar. 12, 2006. Margin of error is 3.4 per cent.