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Inclined to hold early election: Lukashenko

Belarus leader Alexander Lukashenko, who has faced the biggest protests of his 26-year rule after disputed presidential polls, said on Wednesday that he did not rule out calling early elections but it was too soon to set a date.

Unprecedented demonstrations broke out after Mr. Lukashenko claimed to have defeated political novice Svetlana Tikhanovskaya and won re-election with 80% of the vote in the August 9 ballot.

In an interview with Russian state media, Mr. Lukashenko said: “I am inclined to conduct an early presidential election. I do not rule this out.”

“I am saying this for the first time,” he noted.

The Opposition has urged Mr. Lukashenko to acknowledge defeat and step down so that fresh elections can be held according to international standards.

His security services have hit back with waves of arrests and deadly violence against protesters and a campaign of intimidation and expulsions against opposition leaders.

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