Belarus starts voting to elect country's president

MINSK, December 19 (Itar-Tass) - Belarus started voting to elect the country's head of state. Ten candidates are waging struggle for the presidency, including incumbent President Alexander Lukashenko.

The country opened 6,390 polling stations as well as 44 polls in 34 other countries. Over 500 transparent ballot boxes were installed at polling stations for the first time. More than seven million electors may participate in the voting.

The present elections are the fourth in the history of independent Belarus. Alexander Lukashenko has been running the country since 1994, the time of holding the first elections.

Over 1,000 international observers will monitor the elections, including the ODIHR and the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, the CIS and the CIS Parliamentary Assembly as well as central election commissions from some foreign states.

The Belarussian elections are covered by over 1,000 reporters, including 670 foreign.

The first data of exit polls will be known at 20.00 local time, while the first official results will be announced by the CEC on the night from Sunday to Monday.

The CEC has summed up the results of the four days of ahead-of-time voting which was made use of by 17.4 percent of the electorate.

Deputy head of the public relations service of the Belarussian Interior Ministry Viktor Novikov told Itar-Tass that "sufficient numbers of law enforcers are involved" in ensuring law and order during the elections.

The voting will end at 20.00 local time.


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