7.2% of voters participate in early presidential balloting in Belarus

As early voting for the Belarusian president stretched into a second day, 7.2 percent of voters have appeared in polling stations, an election official said Thursday.

"In general, the process of early voting was very calm. Everything went as planned and there was no record of violations," said Nikolai Lozovik, secretary of the Central Election Commission.

The elderly and students were the most active voters, Lozovik said, adding that Belarus' senior citizens had a strong sense of responsibility to fulfill their civic duties.

President Alexander Lukashenko held a special meeting Wednesday, focusing on the organization, the campaign, and security during the voting.

"There is no need to encourage people to (take part in) early voting. People should be asked to vote. But as to when, it is their decision," Lukashenko said.

Opposition members and human rights organizations urged citizens to vote on election day Sunday. It was easier to rig ballots during early voting, they warned.

At the headquarters of presidential candidate Vladimir Neklyaev, a hotline has been set up for citizens who were forced to vote before election day.

Human rights activists said that in many cases the heads of universities were using their authority to encourage students to vote earlier.

The CEC has accredited 930 international observers to monitor the process of the election.


Partners: Social Network