The Central Election Commission of Belarus has refused to register former banker Viktor Babriko as a presidential candidate, reports the Belarusian outlet TUT.by.
The election commission claimed that Babariko was banned from the race due to “foreign financial aid,” and for possessing undeclared assets in offshore accounts. The Central Election Commission received this information from the country’s State Control Committee.
The election commission registered five presidential candidates, including current president Alexander Lukashenko and opposition politician Svetlana Tikhanovskaya.
In the lead up to the August 9th presidential elections in Belarus, Viktor Babariko, the former head of “Belgazprombank,” emerged as the leading potential candidate and the main opponent for current president Alexander Lukashenko (who has been serving for 26 consecutive years). Unofficial opinion polls showed that up to half of voters were prepared to support Babriko.
After the start of campaigning, Babariko was arrested and placed in pre-trial detention on money laundering, tax evasion, and bribery charges. Babariko’s arrest sparked mass protests in downtown Minsk on June 18, which saw 2,000 demonstrators rally in support of arrested politicians and activists.
Svetlana Tikhanovskaya’s husband, Belarusian blogger Sergey Tikhanovsky, was arrested at the end of May in connection with an alleged case of violence against police officers.