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Belarus President Lukashenko Wins Fifth Term in Landslide

  • VOA News

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko with his youngest son Nikolai casts his ballot at a polling station, during the presidential election, in Minsk, Belarus, Sunday, Oct. 11, 2015.

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko with his youngest son Nikolai casts his ballot at a polling station, during the presidential election, in Minsk, Belarus, Sunday, Oct. 11, 2015.

Belarusian President Alexandr Lukashenko has won a fifth term by a landslide in Sunday's elections, which were boycotted by most of the opposition.

The election commission reported the president won 83.5 percent of the vote, which was monitored by envoys from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. The OSCE will present a report on the polls to the European Union on Monday, which is then expected to release a formal statement.

Reuters quoted diplomatic sources as saying the EU is prepared to lift sanctions, at least temporarily, against the cash-strapped Lukashenko government if the report warrants doing so.

Lukashenko faced nominal opposition Sunday from two pro-government parties and a little-known opposition activist.

Most of the president's opponents and at least one opposition candidate in the 2010 polls were arrested shortly after polls closed, while police detained hundreds of opposition supporters after launching a violent crackdown on thousands of street protesters in Minsk.

Former candidate Nikolai Statkevich spent nearly five years in prison before Lukashenko unexpectedly ordered his release in August, along with five other political prisoners.

The releases were widely seen as an overture toward Western governments, which imposed sanctions in recent years against the Lukashenko government for its harsh treatment of opposition activists.

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