Belarussian president says ensuring stability main challenge during election

Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko said on Friday that ensuring stability and order was the main challenge for the authorities during the upcoming presidential election, and he vowed tough actions against those fomenting unrest.

The president's warning came a day after Belarussian State Security Committee Chairman Stepan Sukhorenko accused the opposition of plotting a coup.

Lukashenko said some "freaks" were trying to stir up trouble in Belarus and he called for timely prevention of all unlawful conducts.

"So far, we have been putting up with it. But as soon as they cross the line, we will take tough measures," he was quoted by the official BelTA news agency as saying.

Voters in Belarus will go to the polls on Sunday to elect a new president from the contestants, including Lukashenko who is seeking a third term and three other candidates. Advance voting opened on Tuesday.

Lukashenko was first elected in 1994 and his current term ends September this year. Opinion polls indicate he has a strong lead in the race.

While the European Union has asked the Belarussian authorities to ensure a free and fair vote and threatened to adopt "restrictive measures" against individuals responsible for fraudulence, Lukashenko played down Western pressure on Belarus.

"We have to work rather than pay attention to these babblers. This is their business," he said.

Source: Xinhua