The 19 December presidential elections in Belarus did not meet the high expectations that the partial but encouraging regime liberalization of the past two years had raised in Western democracies and among the Belarusian opposition. Incumbent president Alexander Lukashenka was once again re-elected with supposedly 79,65 % of the votes in an election OSCE observers did not recognize as free and fair.
Anaïs Marin is a French political scientist based in Helsinki. She contributes this comment upon returning from Belarus where she was deployed as an OSCE short-term observer of the 19 December presidential elections. Anaïs Marin has published on Russian foreign policy, the Northern Dimension and border-related issues (cross-border cooperation, Euroregions, transboundary river management) in the EU’s Eastern neighborhood. As of January 2011 she will be working as an expert on Belarus with the Finnish Institute of International Affairs (www.fiia.fi).