Belarusian presidential candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, the rival of the long-time leader Alexander Lukashenko, has urged the European Council not to recognize the results of the latest presidential election.
"The August 9th elections were neither fair, nor transparent. The results were falsified," Tikhanovskaya said in English, in a video address published on YouTube.
"People, who went out to defend their vote in the streets of their cities all across Belarus, were brutally beaten, imprisoned and tortured by the regime desperately clinging onto power. Hundreds were injured, at least two people lost their lives. This is taking place right now in the middle of Europe. I call on you not to recognize these fraudulent elections," she said in the address posted on the Strana dlya Zhizni [Country for Life] YouTube channel Lukashenko's rival had recently been using as a media platform.
Read alsoStoltenberg: NATO poses no threat to BelarusLukashenko has lost legitimacy, Tikhanovskaya claims, "in the eyes of our nation and the world."
"In order to facilitate a peaceful transition of power in my country, I have initiated the National Coordination Council of Belarus. It will lead the process of peaceful transition of power via dialogue. It will immediately call for a new fair and democratic presidential elections with international supervision," Tikhanovskaya said.
Belarus protests: Developments
On August 9, presidential elections were held in Belarus.
The country's Central Election Commission announced the final election results. In particular, 80.1% of voters supported incumbent President Alexander Lukashenko, 10.1% voted for Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, 1.67% for Anna Kanopatskaya, 1.2% for Andrey Dmitriev, and 1.14% for Sergei Cherechnya. Some 4.59% voted against all candidates.
Thousands of residents of Belarus took to the streets to protest what they believe is a rigged vote count. Riot police violently cracked down on protesters.
Belarus' Ministry of Internal Affairs said about 7,000 protesters had been detained in different cities since August 9. On the evening of August 13, the authorities started to release detainees.
Read alsoLukashenko to protesters: "No new vote unless you kill me"According to human rights activists, at least five people were killed during clashes with riot police, seven more remain in critical condition in hospitals' intensive care units. Activists say about 200-300 people were detained as political prisoners.
Lukashenko has repeatedly warned against meddling in Belarus' domestic affairs. He had phone calls with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin. As a result, the Kremlin assured they were ready to provide "comprehensive assistance" to Belarus.
On August 14, the European Union announced it did not recognize the outcome of the presidential election in Belarus, and that work had begun to introduce sanctions over electoral fraud and violence against protesters.