Belarus Sets Election Day

Belarus has set October 11 as the date for a presidential election. Reuters says the election is almost certain to usher in a new five-year term for veteran Alexander Lukashenko. He has been in power in the ex-Soviet republic since 1994, and has said several times he will run for what will be a fifth consecutive term in office. In past interviews with Western journalists, Lukashenko has appeared almost to revel in being branded a dictator by Western governments, though he has recently appeared to be seeking better ties with the West by showing greater independence of opinion from Russia.