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Presidential election in Belarus begins

October 11, 2015, 8:40 UTC+3 MINSK
The Central Election Commission organised 49 polling stations abroad, including four in Russia
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MINSK, October 11. /TASS/. Over 6,100 polling stations opened in Belarus at 8a.m. local time on Sunday. The Central Election Commission organised 49 polling stations abroad, including four in Russia.

During the day, polling stations will be working at the republic’s resorts and medical facilities, as well as at military units. About seven million voters are registered in the country.

Four candidates run for president in Belarus, where election will be held on Sunday. The polling stations will open at 8 a.m. and will be open until 8 p.m. (the time coincides with Moscow Time). According to preliminary data, the voting turnout is expected to be high. During the five days of the early voting 36,05% voters enrolled in voting lists came to the polling stations. This is a record high turnout in the early voting during the period the election campaigns are held in Belarus.

As the polling stations close, exit polls results will be published, and the Central Election Commission plans to announce preliminary results of the election at about 1 at night on October 12.

The Belarusian presidential campaign is monitored by more than 900 international observers. The majority of international monitors represent two missions. About 400 representatives come from the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) and another 400 represent the CIS mission. Heads of both missions are expected to voice preliminary reports on the election on October 12 already.

A total of 940 journalists from 30 countries will be covering presidential election, the republic’s ministry of information says.

The presidential candidates are chairman of the Liberal Democratic Party Sergey Gaidukevich, representative of the Tell the Truth civic campaign Tatiana Korotkevich, incumbent President Alexander Lukashenko and Chairman of the Belarusian Patriotic Party Nikolay Ulakhovich. The current president, who won the election in 1994, 2001, 2006 and 2010, expects to take the helm of the country for the fifth time. During the previous election, in which 10 candidates took part, Lukashenko received 79.6% of the vote.

The National Institute of Socio-Economic and Political Studies registered in Lithuania conducted a survey last month, according to which 72% of voters are willing to take part in the elections.

According to the poll, 45.7% of voters are ready to vote for incumbent head of state Alexander Lukashenko, 17.9% are ready to support Korotkevich, 11.4% - Gaidukevich and 3.6% - Ulakhovich.

The presidential election will be considered valid if over 50% of the poll come to vote. A candidate needs to receive support from over 50% of the voters to win the election.

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