Belarus clean sweep poll 'flawed'

Parliamentary polls in Belarus - in which the opposition failed to win a seat - "fell short" of international standards, European monitors say.

However, the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe said there were "minor improvements" during Sunday's elections.

All 110 seats went to pro-government candidates, electoral officials said.

The opposition says the vote was not legitimate, but President Alexander Lukashenko says it was free and fair.

OSCE monitors said in a statement that the vote was "generally well conducted, but the process deteriorated considerably during the vote count".

They said that "the count was assessed as bad or very bad in 48% of polling stations visited".

Earlier, opposition parties said the result was rigged, urging international monitors not to recognise the outcome.

President Lukashenko - who has been in power since 1994, in what critics have called Europe's last dictatorship - dismissed the accusations, saying the vote was free.

He has said he expected the election to lead to better relations between the former Soviet republic and the West.

Mr Lukashenko has been trying to re-build those ties after a cooling in his relations with Russia, his long-time ally.



Partners: Social Network