Opposition parties in Belarus have failed to win a single seat in parliamentary elections seen as a test of the former Soviet state's democracy

Protesters in Minsk after the parliamentary elections

The full results indicated that all 110 seats would go to supporters of the autocratic President, Alexander Lukashenko, who Washington dubs "Europe's last dictator".

"Not a single opposition candidate was elected, at least not among those represented by the parties," Central Elections Commission chief Lidia Yermoshina told a news conference.

Hundreds of opposition activists gathered in the capital Minsk late on Sunday to condemn the polls as a "farce" and urged international observers not to recognise the outcome.

180 Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko

President Alexander Lukashenko

Lukashenko, who has ruled this economically backward country - wedged between Russia and the European Union - for 14 years, hit out at opposition groups for taking "outside" funding.

"A real, constructive opposition is always needed... but not an opposition fed and financed 100% from outside," he told journalists.

Election monitors from the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) were to give their appraisal of the poll later on Monday.

The West has offered to ease sanctions, give economic aid and lift a travel ban on Belarussian leaders if the poll shows signs of progress in a country that is also a key transit route for Russian gas exports.

After the polls closed, young protesters in Minsk held banners declaring "No to Farce", "Dictatorship Should Go to the Dustbin of History" and "No to Russian Military Bases".

They also waved flags of the European Union and orange ones mirroring those used in the pro-Western Orange Revolution in neighbouring Ukraine in 2004.

Only a few uniformed police could be seen surrounding the opposition rally, in stark contrast to previous post-election protests in Belarus.

Earlier, a coalition of anti-Lukashenko groups criticised the election as undemocratic.

"It is clear these elections cannot be recognised as honest and fair under any criteria. We do not recognise the results," said Anatoly Lebedko, the leader of the opposition United Citizen Party.

The voter turnout was 75.3%, according to the Central Elections Commission.



Partners: Social Network