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Belarus Sets Presidential Election Date

The Belarusian parliament has set October 11 as the date for a presidential election.

President Alyaksandr Lukashenka is widely expected to win the polls, extending his two-decade-long grip on power.

Several candidates from various political parties and blocks have announced they intend to run against him.

International observers have not declared a Belarusian election to be free and fair since Lukashenka, 60, came to power in 1994.

He unleashed a crackdown on the opposition after winning presidential polls in December 2010 with what election officials said was 80 percent of the vote.

Mass protests later broke out on the streets of the capital, Minsk.

Police arrested hundreds of protesters and seven challengers to Lukashenka for the presidential post.

Two of the candidates were later sent to prison, where one still remains.

Based on reporting by AFP and AP

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