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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Belarus Election Date

MINSK, Belarus -- Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko has set a parliamentary election for Oct. 15, in what will be a test case for the nation accused of sidelining its opposition forces.

Presidential spokesman Nikolai Borisevich said Lukashenko had signed a decree Thursday for the poll, the first since a 1996 referendum boosted his powers, extended his term and allowed him to disband parliament.

The West has shunned Belarus since the referendum and has called on authorities to draw up a more democratic electoral code to ensure all political parties have free and equal access to the media and to give parliament "meaningful functions."