Belarus: Lukashenka’s Victory

BELARUSIANS WENT TO the polls on 14 May to vote for a new parliament to replace the only Soviet-era legislature that remained in any of the former Soviet republics. At the same time, Alyaksandr Lukashenka, Belarus’s pro-Russian president, put four referendum questions on the ballot that amounted to a confidence vote in his policies aimed at bringing the republic closer to Russia. While Lukashenka came out of the election a victor, no new parliament was elected even after the second round of voting. The parliament is now in legal limbo, while Lukashenka, riding a wave of public support, is clearly in control of Belarusian politics. The question now is how both Belarus and Russia actually perceive Lukashenka’s recent moves toward integration.