Minsk: The turnout in Belarus's presidential election, on course to bring a landslide victory for authoritarian leader Alexander Lukashenko, stood at 86.75 per cent, the central electoral commission announced.
The turnout yesterday was highest in the northern Vitebsk region where 91 per cent of voters cast their ballots, and topped 90 per cent in two other regions. It was lowest in the city of Minsk at 73.33 per cent, the commission said on its website.
According to exit polls on state television, Lukashenko won at least 80 per cent of the crucial vote, which could lead to the European Union lifting sanctions on the strongman after he appeased the West by releasing the country's last political prisoners in August.
Lukashenko, who has ruled the ex-Soviet country bordering Russia and the EU since 1994, is now set to serve a fifth consecutive term.
The election turnout was boosted by authorities organising a massive early vote that began Tuesday, including for soldiers and students. Over a third of the electorate of more than seven million voted in yesterday's polls.