West decries flaws, violence in Belarus election

MINSK, Belarus — International observers and Western governments accused Belarus' strongman leader of using fraud and violence to remain in power after more than 16 years of repressive rule, saying Monday that President Alexander Lukashenko's re-election had been seriously flawed.
The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe said the count in Sunday's vote was "bad or very bad" in half the country's precincts. It also strongly criticized the violent dispersal by riot police of a post-election protest rally. US and European leaders criticized Lukashenko for a wave of violence directed at rival presidential candidates and their supporters in the hours after the election.