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Early voting begins in Belarus ahead of parliamentary election

September 18, 2012, 8:10 UTC+3

Over 360 candidates competing for 110 parliamentary seats were registered in the election campaign

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MINSK, September 18 (Itar-Tass) — Early voting begins on Tuesday in Belarus ahead of the parliamentary election on September 23. It is organized within five days for those voters who won’t be able to go to the polling stations on that day for this or that reason.

“This is convenient, we must broaden instead of narrowing possibilities for the people to participate in elections,” the chairwoman of the Central Election Commission, Lidiya Yermoshina, said.

Initially, over 360 candidates competing for 110 parliamentary seats were registered in the election campaign in Belarus. Now their number has decreased to 294. Last Saturday two major opposition parties – the Belarussian People’s Front and the United Civil Party of Belarus - decided to withdraw their candidates from the election.

The CEC chairwoman criticized an unconstructive strategy of boycott, saying that “from the political point of view, this is a tremendous blow on their international image”.

“Of course, they will stay to watch, stage some actions. But these decisions are not justified by the logic of the existence of political parties,” she said.

According to the Central Election Commission, 668 international observers are accredited in Belarus. Most of them are OSCE and CIS observers. Besides, representatives from central election commissions of other countries have also arrived.

Closer to the voting day more foreign observers will arrive. About 8,000 Belarussian observers are registered, but this figure may grow threefold. Police have stepped up security measures. According to the Belarussian Foreign Ministry, 43 polling stations have been organized at diplomatic missions of Belarus in 32 countries.



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