CIS in the News…
Belarus: Parliamentary Elections and Western Concerns
Last fall’s parliamentary elections in Belarus were the cause of renewed concern and criticism from Western governments and human rights groups. Supporters of Belarussian president Alexander Lukashenko won every seat in parliament, leading to allegations that the election was rigged.
The chairman of Belarus’ Central Election Commission said turnout was 74 percent. Two opposition parties had called for a boycott, while other opposition figures were allowed to run with fewer roadblocks from the bureaucracy, but none won any seats. The last three opposition members to win seats in parliament lost them back in 2004. The U.S. State Department issued a statement after the election that was critical of the government, urging truly open and free elections.
Evangelical churches in Belarus and the former Soviet nations mostly avoid politics and stay focused on their ministries, as being more vocal can put them at significant risk of government reprisals—the severity of which depends on the country. Please pray for our brothers and sisters in Belarus and the rest of the CIS, asking the Lord to protect them and to remove all hindrances to the advance of the Gospel.