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Minsk claims high turnout in Belarus elections

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Minsk claims high turnout in Belarus elections

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The preliminary results in the Belarus parliamentary elections are in, although the final result will not be known for days.

The authorities are claiming that, with a turnout of over 74%, 109 of the 110 seats had already returned MPs and the results were definitive.

Opposition calls for a boycott seemed to have had little effect.

“The turnout was quite high for the early voting, around 26% is the official tally. So, I think that this is a peculiar system,” said the OECD’s mission chief Matteo Mecacci.

Belarus allows students, the police and armed forces to vote early. President Lukashenko, in power since 1994, allowed 330 OECD observers to monitor the vote. Their report is due shortly, but all elections since 1995 have been condemned as flawed or downright fixed.

The opposition called on people to go mushroom-picking or fishing rather than vote on Sunday, but some observers say the turnout was inflated and suspect there has been ballot-stuffing, as ballot boxes were left unguarded in polling stations during the week.