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European Parliament Calls for New Belarusian Elections

The European Parliament has termed the recent presidential elections in Belarus "fundamentally flawed" and "fraudulent," and called for new elections.

In the strongly worded resolution, the lawmakers called Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko the last dictator in Europe and said his regime lacks legitimacy. They also said they were appalled by the Russian government's positive reactions to the Belarusian vote.

The resolution calls on European Union members to ban entry to all Belarusian officials believed to be involved in human rights violations. It also asks the bloc's foreign ministers to freeze the assets of Mr. Lukashenko and his advisers.

Mr. Lukashenko's spokesman dismissed the resolution.

Mr. Lukashenko won an overwhelming majority in the March 19 presidential elections, and is to be sworn in to a new term Saturday, April 8.

The announcement by Belarus authorities of Mr. Lukashenko's victory sparked protests by opposition activists who considered the vote fraudulent.

Belarusian police broke up the protests after five days, confirming about 500 arrests. Opposition activists have put the number closer to 1,000.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.