Belarus Holds Elections Boycotted by Opposition

Posted September 23rd, 2012 at 4:30 am (UTC-5)
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Voters in Belarus are choosing a new parliament Sunday in elections the opposition is calling a sham.

The vote is widely expected to maintain President Alexander Lukashenko's grip on the country. Main opposition parties called for a boycott of the election.

Mr. Lukashenko has ruled the former Soviet country for 18 years.

Human rights bodies 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 has sent more than 200 observers to Belarus for the election, although two monitors were denied entry without explanation.