Czech Senate receives Tikhanovskaya as Belarusian president — speaker

The Czech Senate is receiving leader of the Belarusian opposition Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, who is visiting the country until June 10, as the Belarusian president, Senate President Milos Vystrcil, who invited her to the country, told reporters on Monday.

Tikhanovskaya will have meetings with Czech President Milos Zeman and Prime Minister Andrej Babis on Tuesday. She will also be received by Foreign Minister Jakub Kulhanek and will speak to the Senate on Wednesday.

"The Belarusian presidential elections that were held in August 2020 were not free, fair or legitimate. So, the Senate invited Svetlana Tikhanovskaya as its main guest to the Czech Republic. I see it the way that the Czech Senate and I personally consider her to be the Belarusian president," he said.

On Monday, Tikhanovskaya had the first meeting with the Senate leadership. Vystrcil also added that they spoke about the Czech Republic can possibly help the democratic forces in Belarus.

Belarus held presidential elections on August 9, 2020. According to the Central Election Commission’s official results, incumbent President Alexander Lukashenko won by a landslide. His closest rival in the race, Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, came in second, but refused to accept the result of the election and fled Belarus. After the results were announced, mass protests erupted in downtown Minsk and other Belarusian cities. During the early post-election period, the rallies snowballed into fierce clashes between the protesters and police. (TASS)