Europe

2 opposition candidates make it to Belarusian parliament

  • Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko poses for photographers as he casts his ballot during parliamentary elections in Minsk, Belarus, Sunday, Sept. 11, 2016. Belarusians are casting ballots for a new parliament in the authoritarian former Soviet republic that has been making steps toward rapprochement with the West. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)

    Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko poses for photographers as he casts his ballot during parliamentary elections in Minsk, Belarus, Sunday, Sept. 11, 2016. Belarusians are casting ballots for a new parliament in the authoritarian former Soviet republic that has been making steps toward rapprochement with the West. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)  (The Associated Press)

  • A woman reads official leaflets with competing parliamentary candidates' info displayed, and election posters of contenders, at a polling station during parliamentary elections in Minsk, Belarus, Sunday, Sept. 11, 2016. Belorussians are casting ballots for a new parliament in the authoritarian former Soviet republic that has been making steps toward rapprochement with the West. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)

    A woman reads official leaflets with competing parliamentary candidates' info displayed, and election posters of contenders, at a polling station during parliamentary elections in Minsk, Belarus, Sunday, Sept. 11, 2016. Belorussians are casting ballots for a new parliament in the authoritarian former Soviet republic that has been making steps toward rapprochement with the West. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)  (The Associated Press)

  • Kent Harstedt, OSCE Special Co-ordinator responsible for leading the short-term OSCE observer mission for parliamentary election in Belarus, attends a news conference in Minsk, Belarus, Monday, Sept. 12, 2016. Observers from the Organization for Cooperation and Security in Europe in a statement released on Monday afternoon lauded the government's "visible efforts" to make the vote more transparent but pointed to "systematic shortcoming." (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)

    Kent Harstedt, OSCE Special Co-ordinator responsible for leading the short-term OSCE observer mission for parliamentary election in Belarus, attends a news conference in Minsk, Belarus, Monday, Sept. 12, 2016. Observers from the Organization for Cooperation and Security in Europe in a statement released on Monday afternoon lauded the government's "visible efforts" to make the vote more transparent but pointed to "systematic shortcoming." (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)  (The Associated Press)

Election officials in Belarus say two opposition candidates have won seats in parliament for the first time in 20 years.

Figures released early on Monday in the authoritarian former Soviet republic showed Anna Konopatskaya and Yelena Anisim had won seats in the 110-seat parliament. Although all the ballots were counted by Monday morning, the official result has to be announced later in the week.

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has been taking steps toward rapprochement with the West as the country's Soviet-style command economy has staggered in recent years.

Belarus released all political prisoners last year, spurring the European Union to lift sanctions. The country's fragmented opposition has lambasted the election and the campaigning as undemocratic, but unlike in previous elections opposition candidates were not jailed before the vote.