CIS, OSCE observers say Belarus elections democratic

Observers from the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) believe that the presidential elections in Belarus were transparent and democratic.

Incumbent Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko won a landslide victory in Sunday's presidential elections amid accusations of vote rigging and mass arrests in the country's capital.

"We believe that these elections were transparent and met the requirements of the election legislation and common democratic norms," CIS Executive Secretary Sergei Lebedev told reporters in Minsk.

"Our mission has not uncovered facts that would shed doubt on the legitimacy of these elections," he said adding that his colleagues from the OSCE shared this opinion.

With 100% of the ballots counted, Belarus' Central Election Commission (CEC) said on Monday citing preliminary results: incumbent President Alexander Lukashenko gained 79.67percent, winning a fourth term, while his closest rival, opposition candidate Andrei Sannikov, received 2.56 percent of the votes.

The remaining eight runners had 0.48% to 1.97%, while 6.47% voted against all candidates. CEC head Lidiya Yermoshina said the voter turnout was 90.66%.

The vote count was delayed due to protests. Thousands of protestors tried to storm the government building, breaking windows and seizing batons from police, but were eventually dispersed. The demonstrators and police accused each other of provoking clashes that saw a few people on both sides injured.

Over 600 people were detained, and the protest leaders face charges of organizing mass riots.

"Law enforcement bodies knew about the intentions of some of the candidates to hold unauthorized mass rallies," the Belarusian Interior Ministry said on its website on Monday.

MINSK, December 20 (RIA Novosti)


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