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Lukashenka Declared Winner Of Belarus Vote

March 20, 2006 -- Incumbent Alyaksandr Lukashenka has officially been declared the winner of March 19 presidential election in Belarus.

Central Election Commission chief Lidziya Yarmoshyna says Lukashenka scored a decisive victory:

"In the presidential election in Belarus on March 19, 2006, President Lukashenka, Alyaksandr Grigorievich, was elected for a third term," Yarmoshyna said. "He received 82.6 percent of the vote."

Voter turnout was listed at almost 93 percent.

International observers from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) are expected today to issue their evaluation of the vote.

Observers from Russia have already said they consider the election to have been fairly held.

The main opposition candidate, Alyaksandr Milinkevich, received 6 percent of the vote, according to official results. He alleges massive electoral fraud and is calling for a new, fair election.

He is urging opposition supporters to return to Minsk's central October Square this evening. More than 10,000 people rallied there peacefully on Sunday night. It was the biggest opposition rally in Belarus in recent years.

(compiled from agency reports)

Copyright (c) 2006. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036. www.rferl.org



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