As many as 37.4 percent of Belarusians would like Alyaksandr Lukashenka to be reelected for a new presidential term, according to a survey conducted in September by the Vilnius-based Independent Institute of Social, Economic and Political Studies (IISEPS).
However, 50.2 percent of the interviewed suggested that "a new person should be given a chance."
When asked, "If Alyaksandr Lukashenka runs for President for the fourth time and a candidate representing a pro-democratic force competes with him, which of them will you vote for?" 25.2 percent of the interviewed said that they would vote for the pro-democratic candidate and 42.9 percent said that they would vote for Mr. Lukashenka.
When asked whether the fact that "almost all power in the country is in the hands of Alyaksandr Lukashenka is for the good of Belarus or gives nothing to the nation," 44.2 percent opted for the former and 36 percent for the latter.
According to the poll, if a presidential election were held tomorrow, 39.4 percent would vote for Mr. Lukashenka, 3.4 percent for Alyaksandr Milinkevich, two percent for Alyaksandr Kazulin, with other persons receiving less than one percent.
When asked whose interests the current government represents, 34.1 percent of the interviewed answered, "Officials and bureaucrats," while 25 percent answered, "People like me," and 12 percent answered, "Poor and socially unprotected strata of the population."
In the opinion of almost 40 percent of the interviewed, "the gap between the rich and the poor has widened in the 15 years of Lukashenka’s rule." The opposite opinion was expressed by 25.9 percent.
When the interviewed were asked to assess the political system in Belarus by a 10-point scale where one point would mean full democracy and 10 points would mean a complete dictatorship, the answers gave an average of six points.
Mr. Lukashenka told reporters in Lithuania in mid-September that he saw no reason for him not to run for reelection as president.
However, the 55-year-old Belarusian ruler added that if he felt he stood a poor chance of being reelected, he would abandon the idea.
Alyaksandr Lukashenka, formerly the director of a state farm in the Mahilyow region, was elected president in the summer of 1994, then extended his five-year term by two years through a controversial referendum in 1996, and was reelected for new five-year terms in 2001 and 2006.