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World News

Belarus president lacks democratic legitimacy, top EU diplomat says

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko gestures as he delivers a speech during a rally of his supporters near the Government House in Independence Square in Minsk, Belarus August 16, 2020. REUTERS/Stringer

MADRID (Reuters) - Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko “lacks democractic legitimacy” after an election victory that is not recognized, top European Union diplomat Josep Borrell said on Wednesday.

The EU intends to express “condemnation and rejection” of Lukashenko’s regime, Borrell told reporters in Santander, according to TV footage released by state broadcaster TVE.

The diplomat’s comments come as European Union leaders were holding an emergency summit expected to endorse sanctions on Belarussian officials over suspected election fraud and a subsequent crackdown on protesters.

Lukashenko, who has run Belarus for 26 years, is facing massive protests after winning 80% of the vote in elections that some sectors of the population believe were rigged.

Reporting by Inti Landauro; Editing by Nathan Allen

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