Lukashenko heads to victory in Belarus vote: early exit poll

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Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko was Sunday heading for an outright victory in presidential elections, according to an early exit poll published by a Russian news agency.

The poll, published by the Minsk-based EKOOM research centre and based on voting up until 1100 GMT, predicted Lukashenko would win 72 percent of the votes, Russian news agency RIA Novosti said.

His nearest rival, Andrei Sannikov, would only garner 6 percent, it added.

However the poll was compiled with a full seven hours of voting left, with polls only due to close at 1800 GMT.

EKOOM did not respond to requests for comment and Belarussian television published the results, but citing RIA Novosti. It was not clear if the early publication of the poll was an infringement of electoral laws.

The Belarus opposition has vowed to protest Sunday night if Lukashenko wins outright, saying it would only be possible if there was vote-rigging.

© 2010 AFP

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