Lukashenko wins Belarusian presidential election: CEC

MINSK, Dec. 19 (Xinhua) -- Incumbent Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has won the Sunday presidential election, according to the Central Election Commission (CEC) citing preliminary results.

CEC head Lidia Yermoshina told reporters that according to the so-called "closed" areas, Lukashenko claimed a landslide victory with the support of nearly 90 percent of voters.

"Closed" areas were located in hospitals, nursing homes and military units.

The president mustered 89.1 percent of the votes counted, said Yermoshina, adding that "closed areas tend to make the election better than any poll."

Some 70,000 people voted at these closed stations, she added.

Meanwhile, exit polls confirmed Lukashenko's victory. According to the ECOOM analytical center, Lukashenko garnered 79.1 percent of votes. Another exit poll conducted by the TNS-Ukraine company said he mustered 74.2 percent of ballots.

On the other hand, several thousands of Belarusians have gathered around the October Square in downtown Minsk, the capital city of Belarus, protesting against the rigged election, Xinhua correspondents reported from the scene.

Opposition candidates have pledged to stage a joint "peace rally" on Sunday night after the voting was over, urging their supporters to demand a new election.

However, Belarusian authorities said any rally with no permission before-hand was illegal.

Two candidates were also reportedly to have been beaten up on their way toward the October Square.

The Sunday presidential election has been the fourth since Belarus claimed independence in 1991. Many international observers have given positive remarks on the election closed at 8 p.m. local time (1800 GMT).


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