Voting has ended in the parliamentary elections in Belarus, with the country’s officials claiming a high voter turnout despite calls for a boycott of the polls by the main opposition parties. The Central Election Commission declared that the participation in Sunday's polls was 74.3 percent but the opposition parties accused the authorities of brazenly inflating the figure, AFP reported on Monday. The election commission also said that the opposition failed to win a single seat in the 110 seat lower house but the results still needed to be confirmed. “It is doubtful. None of the regions have sent in information about this," said Lidya Yermoshina, the head of the election commission. The Belarus Christian Democracy party, however, rejected the official figures, saying the party's monitors believed only 38 percent of the electorate had voted in the elections. “The election commission is unscrupulously lying as these figures are so radically different from those of observers," said Vitaly Rymashevsky, co-chairman of the party.
The elections were watched by 762 foreign observers, mainly representatives of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.The results of the Sunday’s elections are likely to reinforce President Alexander Lukashenko’s grip on power. Lukashenko's landslide win in 2010 triggered massive protests and a harsh government response. The incumbent president has ruled the former Soviet nation since 1994. MN/AS