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The Leader of Europe's 'Last Dictatorship' Is Facing an Unprecedented Challenge. Here's What It Could Mean for Belarus

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Europe’s longest serving leader Alexander Lukashenko has long worked hard to seem invincible. He has dominated past elections that the U.S. has deemed neither free nor fair and brokered no dissent and suppressed protests. Now, he is facing an unprecedented challenge as he runs for a sixth term as president of Belarus in elections on August 9. A former teacher and political novice, Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, has emerged as his main rival, pledging to topple Lukashenko’s regime and restore democracy.
Tens of thousands have rallied across Belarus in some of the country’s biggest opposition protests in a decade, amid mounting frustration over the government’s mishandling of the COVID-19 crisis, combined with grievances about the economy. Referring to Lukashenko, protestors chanted ‘stop the cockroach’ and held placards reading ‘change!’.
“For the first time in his 26-year rule, Lukashenko knows the majority don’t support him,” says Aleksandr Feduta, a former aide to the incumbent, who was i…

Poland's opposition party wants death penalty reinstated

PiS leader Jarosław Kaczyński said the penalty should be applied to those who commit exceptionally cruel murders

Jarosław Kaczyński, the leader of Poland's main opposition party, Law and Justice (PiS), told journalists on Friday that his party will soon submit an amendment to the penal code calling for the reinstatement of the death penalty.

“We would like to reinstate the death penalty for exceptionally cruel murders, and in general, increase the punishment for murders,” Mr Kaczyński said.

According to the PiS party leader, Poland's average punishment for committing a murder is seven years in prison; this figure includes second degree murder.

“The nation should be protecting its honest people and combating crime, so that the average Pole can feel safe,” he added.

Mr Kaczyński said that he is aware of objections the EU administration could have to this plan. However, he said that there is no law in the EU which forbids the death penalty.

“Just because the EU elites are against it, does not mean we have to be. We are a sovereign state,” he added.

Poland has signed and ratified Protocol 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights which forbids the death penalty in times of peace.

Signing and ratifying the treaty is a condition which must be met in order for a country to be allowed to join the EU.

Source: Izabela Depczyk, Warsaw Business Journal, November 25, 2011

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