Lukashenko reelected as Belarussian president: CEC

MINSK, Dec. 20 (Xinhua) -- Incumbent Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko has been reelected for a fourth term, announced the Central Election Commission (CEC) early Monday.

Lukashenko garnered 79.67 percent of the votes in Sunday's presidential election, said the CEC, with 100 percent of votes counted, securing another term of five years.

His closest rival was opposition candidate Andrei Sannikov, the European Belarus civil campaign leader, who received 2.56 percent of the vote, said CEC head Lidia Yermoshina at a press conference.

The rest of candidates gained votes between 0.48 and 1.97 percent.

Turnout in the polls was 90.66 percent out of a total of 7.09 million registered voters, she added.

In the previous election in 2006, Lukashenko claimed a landslide victory with 83 percent of votes.

Yermoshina earlier told a press briefing that the counting process had been interrupted by the opposition rallies.

Several thousand of Belarussians rallied in downtown Minsk to protest the election after the polls were closed at 8 p.m. local time (1800 GMT) on Sunday night.

They first gathered around the October Square, where the CEC office was located, and then marched to the Independent Square. Some of them tried to storm the government building. The crowds were later gradually dispersed, and some radical protestors were arrested.

Yermoshina hoped that the incident would not affect assessment from some 1,000 international observers on the presidential election.

Earlier, most observers from international and regional organizations, such as the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), had given positive remarks on the 2010 polls.

The Sunday presidential election was the fourth one since Belarus claimed independence in 1991. Lukashenko has been head of state since 1994.


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