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Belarus waits for election results it already knows

Belarus is awaiting the official results of its parliamentary elections, which were held on Sunday. The election commission has said it's "unlikely" that the opposition has won a single seat.

Authorities in Belarus on Monday reported a high turnout and said that all but one of the 110 seats in parliament had been filled in Sunday's parliamentary election.

The head of the election commission, Lidya Yermoshina, put turnout at 74.3 percent, a figure the opposition claimed was falsified. Two major opposition groups had withdrawn all candidates and urged people to boycott the ballot.

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OSCE expects irregularities in Belarus

Yermoshina, told reporters in the capital city Minsk that it appeared unlikely that any opposition candidates who did run would win one of the 110 seats up for grabs.

"It is doubtful. None of the regions have sent in information about this," Yermoshina said.

Final results are expected later on Monday at the latest, with a repeat of the last parliamentary ballot in 2008 considered likely. Then, 103 independents - as Lukashenko loyalists are officially classified - won seats, with the remaining seven picked up by the communist and farmers' parties, both of which are broadly perceived to be friendly with the government.

Lukashenko dismissed opposition and Western criticism of the polls on an election-day appearance at a Minsk polling station.

"These are elections for the Belarusian people, not for the West," Lukashenko said, adding that all 110 parliamentary seats would remain in friendly hands because the "cowardly opposition has nothing to offer."

Results, and reports, pending

Roughly seven million people were eligible to vote in the elections.

Belarus' President Alexander Lukashenko speaks at a news conference in Minsk, Belarus, Friday, June 17, 2011. (AP)

President Lukashenko casts his ballot with his son in Minsk

The Lukashenko administration, dubbed "Europe's last dictatorship" by the George W. Bush administration in the US in 2004, is subject to a string of US and EU sanctions - including a travel ban for Lukashenko and high-ranking officials.

The president, who took office in 1994, won re-election to a fourth term in 2010, with official figures stating he won nearly 80 percent of the vote. The election was followed by allegations of fraud and public protests, some of which were violently suppressed by security forces.

Election monitors led by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe were scheduled to publish their reports on Sunday's vote by Monday evening. The OSCE called the 2010 presidential ballot "flawed" and has not declared any Belarusian vote "free and fair" since 1995.

msh/sej (AFP, dpa)

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