Campaigning has begun for presidential elections in Belarus amid mass protests and arrests of opposition figures. Several of those arrested were detained on Sunday in the capital, Minsk, while gathering signatures to allow additional new candidates to run. Election authorities had previously banned the would-be candidates from registering for the vote, which is scheduled to take place on August 9. Fifty-five candidates — more than ever before — have applied to the Central Election Commission for permission to participate in the election but only 15 activist groups have been registered. Each group must collect 100,000 signatures from the electorate by the start of July for their candidate to be eligible. Incumbent President Alexander Lukashenko recently announced that he already has the signatures of 200,000 supporters. Lukashenko has been in power for almost 26 years and wants to stay there. Among his rivals for the post are the former head of Belgazprombank, Viktor Babariko, and the former head of the Belarusian IT hub Hi-Tech Park, Valeri Tsepkalo. Read more: Belarus: Persecution of journalists in the shadow of Corona Sergei Tikhanovski’s candidacy has been banned, so his wife is running instead A new face The video blogger Sergei Tikhanovski was among those who wanted to run but whose… Read full this story
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