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Belarusian TV: Lukashenka To Win Referendum

17 October 2004 -- Belaruisan state television says an exit poll indicates that President Alyaksandr Lukashenka is poised to win a referendum that would allow him to seek another term in office.

Official results of today's voting are not expected until tomorrow.

However, an exit poll conducted by an official analytical center, Ecoom, indicates that 76 percent of voters said "yes" to the referendum on amending the constitution to allow the president to serve a third term.

Under Belarusian law, the results of exit polls can't be announced until after polls close to avoid influencing voters who haven't cast their ballots. But state television broadcast the results throughout the day.

The European Union and the United States have expressed strong doubts that the vote would meet democratic standards. Belarusians also cast ballots to fill the largely powerless 110-seat Chamber of Representatives.