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Belarus Election Commission Slams Opposition's Vote Boycott

Belarusian Central Election Commission Secretary Mikalay Lozovik
The head of Belarus's Central Election Commission has harshly criticized a decision by two opposition parties to withdraw their candidates from the country's September 23 legislative elections.

The opposition United Civic Union and the Belarusian National Front made the announcement on September 16, saying that the government had failed to release political prisoners.

Commission Secretary Mikalay Lozovik said the decision showed "disrespect for voters" and represented a "travesty of law."

The two parties also called on voters to refrain from participating in the elections.

Belarus's political system is strictly controlled by President Alyaksandr Lukashenka and international observers routinely comdemn the country's elections as unfair.

Based on reporting by ITAR-TASS, Interfax, and AP