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Over 23 percent said to have voted early
As many as 1,629,191 people, or 23.1 percent of all eligible voters cast their ballots between December 14 and 18, the five-day early voting period preceding December 19, the main polling day in Belarus' presidential election, according to the central election commission.
As Mikalay Lazavik, secretary of the central election commission, told BelaPAN, early voting turnout was 34.6 percent in the Vitsyebsk region, 23.4 percent in the Hrodna region, 26.4 percent in the Mahilyow region, 24.1 percent in the Homyel region, 20.4 percent in the Minsk region, 18.8 percent in the Brest region, and 17.7 percent in the city of Minsk.
Mr. Lazavik said that 28.2 percent of the registered voters had already cast their ballots at polling stations abroad.
The central election commission said that 31.3 percent of all eligible voters had voted early in the previous presidential election in 2006.
Mr. Lazavik downplayed reports of massive irregularities in early voting by independent observers, accusing the latter of trying to "discredit the election campaign and provoke conflicts with the organizers of the election." //BelaPAN