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Observers, Belarusians Protest Election Results


19 October 2004 -- Foreign observers say Belarus's 17 October elections were marred by numerous violations, and demonstrators have rallied in the capital Minsk in protest of the outcome.

More than 1,000 people took part in the demonstration late yesterday in central Minsk, and up to 20 were reported detained.

The protesters denounced as false the official results showing that more than 77 percent of voters in the 17 October vote supported a referendum to scrap presidential term limits.

The step will enable President Alyaksandr Lukashenka to run for a third term in 2006.

The Organization For Security and Cooperation in Europe, the European Union, and the U.S. State Department all cited shortcomings in the electoral process and said the voting failed to meet democratic standards.

In the voting for the largely powerless 110-seat Chamber of Representatives, opposition members failed to win a single seat.

(AP/AFP/dpa/Reuters)

[For full coverage of the run-up to the vote and the elections in Belarus, see RFE/RL's webpage here.]
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