Lukashenka's Reelection Causes Protest and Controversy
On December 19, 2010, Alyaksandr Lukashenka, president since 1994, was reelected. According to government officials, he won by 79.7% of the vote. Andrey Sannikau was his closest challenger with 2.6% and voter turnout was 90.7%. On the day of the election, two presidential candidates were beaten by police while attending different opposition rallies. One of the candidates, Uladzimir Niaklajeu, was taken to a hospital where he was treated for a head injury. While in intensive care, he was abducted by Belarusian authorities. On the night of the election, ten thousand opposition protesters attempted to storm the government building of Belarus, smashing windows before police pushed them back.
On December 27, 2010, Prime Minister Syarhey Sidorski and his cabinet resigned. The next day, Lukashenka named Mikhail Myasnikovich as prime minister. The European Union along with the United States imposed sanctions on Belarus officials after the election and promised aid to opposition groups seeking to oust Lukashenka.
Lukashenka has been referred to as Europe's last dictator.
In April 2011, a bomb exploded in a subway station next to Lukashenka's office. The explosion killed 12 people, wounded 150 others and strained an already tense political situation. No one claimed responsibility for the bomb. Lukashenka reported two days later that two suspects had confessed to the crime, but no other details were given.