Lukashenko is Losing Popularity, Say Belarusians

(Angus Reid Global Monitor) - Many people in Belarus believe long-serving president Aleksandr Lukashenko is losing public support, according to a poll by the Independent Institute for Social, Economic and Political Studies (IISEPS). 43 per cent of respondents think fewer people would be willing to vote for him now compared to 2006, when he won the presidential election.

In addition, 53.8 per cent of respondents say change is more important to them at this point, while 37.4 per cent argue for the preservation of the status quo.

Belarus seceded from the Soviet Union in 1991. In 1994, independent candidate Lukashenko won the presidential election, boosted by his popularity after acting as chairman of an anti-corruption parliamentary committee. Lukashenko remains the country's president to this day.

In March 2006, Lukashenko won the presidential election with 82.6 per cent of the vote. The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) said the ballot "did not meet the required international standards for free and fair elections" and was "severely flawed due to arbitrary use of state power and restrictions to basic rights."

Belarus will hold a legislative election on Sept. 28. Independents and non-partisans linked to the Lukashenko regime currently control the House of Representatives.

In late June, Lukashenko said the upcoming ballot will be an example of freedom and transparency, declaring, "We want to show the West, and Russia, how to conduct an election. We will do it so democratically that you can be sure the outcome is real and see who has the people's support. We want to do it openly, democratically so that no one will criticize us and we can say: 'What more do you people want from Belarus?'"

Polling Data

In your opinion, has Aleksandr Lukashenko's rating (that is, readiness of the country's population to vote for him at the next election) increased or decreased during the time passed since the last presidential election?

It has increased


It has decreased


It has remained the same


Not sure


What is more important for you today-preservation of the present state of affairs or its change?

Change of the present state of affairs is more important


Preservation of the present state of affairs is more important


Not sure


Source: Independent Institute for Social, Economic and Political Studies (IISEPS)

Methodology: Interviews with 1,021 Belarusian adults, conducted from Jun. 2 to Jun. 12, 2008. No margin of error was provided.