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You're reading: Opposition boycott and apathy threaten Belarus election
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 The two main opposition parties have urged people to go
fishing and mushrooming rather than vote in what they see as a sham exercise to
produce a chamber which largely rubber-stamps Lukashenko’s directives.

But four days of early voting by students, armed service
staff and police in the tightly-controlled country have already produced a 19
percent turnout, according to official figures, and there was no question of
the boycott threatening the overall turnout threshold and the validity of
Sunday’s ballot.

The outcome will enable Lukashenko to present the election
as a genuine democratic process. Western monitoring agencies have not judged an
election in Belarus, ruled by Lukashenko for 18 years, free and fair since
1995.

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