Belarus: Lukashenko says there won’t be new elections ‘until you kill me’ as protesters rally against strongman

Lukashenko made the comments while visiting a Minsk factory Monday, where he was booed and a group of workers chanted “Leave!” in unison. It’s yet another sign that the strongman’s traditional support base is crumbling after he claimed victory in disputed elections earlier this month.

“You talk about dishonest elections and want to hold new elections,” Lukashenko told the crowd. “My response to this — we held the elections and until you kill me, there won’t be any new elections.”

The embattled strongman, who has has been in power for 26 years, is facing renewed waves of pressure from inside and outside the country, after fresh strikes, angry hecklers, international condemnation and a direct challenge to his position left him clinging to power.

Independent observers have criticized the country’s August 9 election for not being free or fair. And much of the international community has expressed solidarity with widespread protests, piling pressure on Lukashenko to give in to calls for another vote. At home, the leader lost the support of state broadcasters — who aired shots of empty studios after staff walked out in protest.

Opposition candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya offered Monday to act as the country’s “national leader” to help bring peace to Belarus a day after tens of thousands of people…

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