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Opposition Figures Win Seats In Belarusian Parliament


Two opposition figures have won seats in the next parliament in Belarus, the first time the opposition will be represented in parliament in 20 years.

The Central Election Commission said Hanna Kanapatskaya of the United Civil Party won a mandate in the 110-seat lower house of parliament in the country's September 11 elections.

Independent candidate Alena Anisim, who has links to the opposition, also won a seat.

Kanapatskaya and Anisim will be the first opposition parliament deputies in Belarus since 1996. Parliament has been dominated by allies of the country's strongman president, Alyaksandr Lukashenka.

The commission reported that turnout was 74.32 percent. Of the 521 candidates that ran in the elections, 176 represented opposition parties.

The elections were monitored by more than 400 observers from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

Belarus has not held a vote that was assessed free or democratic since the early 1990s, and authorities routinely punish dissent and keep a tight lid on the media in the post-Soviet country of around 10 million people.

Based on reporting by Reuters and Interfax
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