UN human rights rapporteur faults 'pre-ordained' re-election of Belarus president to 5th term

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A U.N. human rights expert is raising doubts about the re-election of Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, saying he garnered the highest margin of victory in an election in Europe since World War II.

Special rapporteur Miklos Haraszti on Tuesday says no independent election monitors could verify the reported 84 percent of votes for Lukashenko. He cited allegations of vote-rigging, including ballot-stuffing and "carrousel voting" in which groups of voters are taken to cast ballots at multiple sites.

Still, Haraszti praised a lack of a violent crackdown on protests this time, unlike during the country's 2010 election. The opposition boycotted Sunday's election.

Following the release of some political prisoners in Belarus, European Union officials have been considering suspending sanctions against Belarus that were handed out for previous crackdowns on dissent.