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Lukashenko confirmed as winner in Belarus presidential vote
www.chinaview.cn 2006-03-23 22:47:26

    MOSCOW, March 23 (Xinhua) -- Incumbent Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko was on Thursday officially declared the winner of the country's presidential election, securing a third term in office.

    The president received 83 percent of the vote in the March 19 election, with his main rival Alexander Milinkevich getting just 6.1 percent, said Central Election Commission spokesman Nikolai Lozovik in Belarus capital Minsk, according to the Interfax news Agency here.

    The 51-year-old Belarussian leader was first elected in 1994 and got the go-ahead to run for a third term through a constitutional referendum in 2004. His inauguration ceremony is scheduled to take place on March 31.

    Confirmation of Lukashenko's landslide victory came as opposition supporters kept up their rally protesting his re-election for a fifth day.

    They began to rally on the capital city's October Square shortly after polls closed on Sunday night, claiming the vote was rigged and demanding a rerun.

    But the number of protesters camping on the square has been dwindling. Around only 200 protesters were continuing their rally on Thursday, the Interfax news agency said.

    Election observers from the Commonwealth of Independent States declared the Belarus vote open and transparent. But the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) said the vote "failed to meet OSCE commitments for democratic elections."

    Russia has approved the election which it said is "fair and legitimate."

    "There is every reason to believe that the election has been held in conformity with universally-recognized standards, and its legitimacy is beyond any doubt," the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

    Russian President Vladimir Putin congratulated Lukashenko on his re-election a day after the win. Enditem

Editor: Wang Nan
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