Belarus Election Officials: Opposition Wins No Seats
By VOA News
29 September 2008
Belarusian election officials say the opposition won no seats in Sunday's parliamentary election which President Alexander Lukashenko promised would be fair.
With votes from all but a few districts counted, officials say Lukashenko allies are set to win all 110 seats.
Hundreds of European election monitors are in Belarus to watch the voting and ballot counting.
Mr. Luksahenko said it will be very hard for monitors to say the election was unfair.
The European Union has said it would reconsider trade and travel sanctions against Belarus depending, in part, on whether monitors certify the election as meeting international standards.
But several hundred opposition supporters are condemning the election as another rigged vote.
Two hundred sixty three candidates, including 70 opposition members, competed for the parliamentary seats.
The United States has also said it will consider improving ties with Belarus after authorities freed former opposition presidential candidate Alexander Kozulin.
Kozulin was sentenced to more than five years behind bars in 2006 for openly protesting President Lukashenko's re-election in what Kozulin and much of the West denounced as a rigged vote.
Washington has called Mr. Lukashenko Europe's last dictator for suppressing human rights and free speech and fixing elections. The president has denounced what he calls Western interference in Belarusian affairs. But he has also expressed the desire for better ties with Europe and the United States.
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