Belarus' Lukashenko predicts landslide election win for himself

Minsk - Authoritarian Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko on Friday predicted a landslide victory for himself in general elections scheduled for December 19.

'Around 70 per cent are ready to vote for the president,' he told a group of German journalists in an interview quoted by several agencies.

'The whole of the opposition can only get about 1.5 per cent. Why would I need to rig the election?' he added.

During the interview, which took place on November 8, he rejected the frequently levelled accusation that he is Europe's last dictator.

'I was never a dictator and will never be one because I wasn't born to it,' he said.

The German government has criticized Belarus for being the only European state to still carry out the death penalty and suppress the opposition.

The West also rejects the country's election results. Lukashenko, who has been in power for 16 years, once admitted in an interview with a Russian newspaper to revising down an election result which was too strongly in his favour.

In Friday's interview he said he did not care whether the West or Russia recognized the results of December's election.

'Will it kill me?' he asked. Belarus was a sovereign nation and would continue its path under him.

Last week German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle and the chief aide to Chancellor Angela Merkel strongly criticized the country's democratic process during a visit to the country.


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