MINSK, Belarus, Dec. 19 (UPI) -- Belarus is voting Sunday in an election almost certain to extend President Alexander Lukashenko's 16-year rule, observers say.
Nine challengers are opposing Lukashenko, including Andrei Sannikov, who is given no chance of winning but declared he was voting for a "free Belarus," Euronews.net reported.
The opposition, which charges the vote is rigged, plans a demonstration in Minsk after polls close.
Sannikov said the protest would go forward even though authorities warn they will suppress any attempt to make trouble.
The government is giving citizens a Christmas gift for voting. International observers say Belarus has never held a free election since splitting from the Soviet Union in 1991.