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Lukashenka Says Revolution 'Failed'

March 20, 2006 -- Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka says his opponents' efforts to inspire a revolution have "failed."

Lukashenka spoke after election officials declared him the winner of of the March 19 presidential election. He won a new five-year term.

"Despite the pressure and orders from outside, they couldn't break us," Lukashenka said.

"Our people made their choice independently and [they] convincingly demonstrated who we, the Belarusians, are and who is the master of the house," Lukashenka told reporters earlier in the day. "This is a bright and undisputed victory of the power of the spirit, of the national dignity, and of the self-respect of the Belarusian people."

But the united opposition candidate, Alyaksandr Milinkevich, says there were no elections, only what he called "an unconstitutional seizure of power."

Milinkevich is urging opposition supporters to return to Minsk's central October Square this evening, after more than 10,000 supporters rallied there on March 19. He said that "the only way to talk to the authorities is from the streets."

Election officials say Lukashenka received 83 percent of the vote, with Milinkevich garnering 6 percent.

(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.

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