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Belarus' presidential polls legitimate: CIS observers

English.news.cn   2010-12-20 18:46:59 FeedbackPrintRSS

MINSK, Dec. 20 (Xinhua) -- Sunday's presidential election in Belarus was legitimate, free and democratic, said the head of the observing mission of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), Sergei Lebedev, on Monday.

"We recognize this election as legitimate. We have no doubts about that," he told reporters.

Lebedev also said observers from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) shared the same opinion that the polls were "transparent and democratic."

One day ago, the OSCE observing mission head, Gert Arens, said the mission might give a higher assessment for Belarus' presidential election.

Incumbent Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has been elected for a fourth term, announced the Central Election Commission (CEC) early Monday.

Lukashenko garnered 79.67 percent of the vote in Sunday's election, said the CEC, with 100 percent of votes counted, securing another term of five years. Voter turnout was also as high as over 90 percent, according to the CEC.

However, Lukashenko's reelection had somewhat been marred by the opposition rallies held on Sunday night in downtown Minsk.

Several thousand of Belarusians rallied to protest the election after the polls were closed at 8 p.m. local time (1800 GMT) on Sunday night.

They first gathered around the October Square, where the CEC information center was located, and then marched to the Independent Square. Some of them tried to storm the government building. The crowds were later gradually dispersed, and some radical protestors were arrested. An investigation has been launched by the Belarusian Interior Ministry.

Commenting on the incident, Lebedev said the massive demonstration has nothing to do with the evaluation of the election campaign. He meanwhile acknowledged actions of the riot police as legal.

"These actions can only be regarded as legitimate. That's my opinion and the opinion of those present here our observation mission coordinator," said Lebedev, adding that some presidential candidates "have used the protests of young people."

Sunday's presidential election has been the fourth one since Belarus claimed independence in 1991.

Editor: Zhang Xiang
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