Belarus Holds Elections Boycotted by Opposition

Posted September 23rd, 2012 at 10:00 am (UTC-5)
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Election officials in Belarus say a parliamentary election has reached the minimum required voter turnout of 50 percent.

The country's election commission says the threshold was reached late Sunday, in a vote opposition parties are calling a sham.

The main opposition parties in Belarus boycotted the poll.

President Alexander Lukashenko's is widely expected to maintain his grip on the former Soviet country, which he has ruled for 18 years.

Human-rights groups say the run-up to Sunday's elections has been marked by the detention of opposition activists.

The United States and the European Union have imposed economic and travel sanctions on the Belarusian government over its crackdown on opposition groups.

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe sent more than 200 observers to Belarus for the election, although two monitors were denied entry without explanation.