Belarus election panel claims Lukashenko far ahead in vote

MINSK, Belarus (AP) — Even before polling stations in Belarus had fully closed, the head of the country’s elections commission said that fragmentary results showed authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko far ahead in his bid for a sixth consecutive term.   The announcement that Lukashenko racked up 82% support in voting at hospitals and sanatoria in five regions was likely to exacerbate tensions with opposition supporters, who had predicted the vote would be manipulated. Voter turnout was so high that some polling places in Minsk, the capital, had to keep working past the planned closing time to accommodate voters who were waiting in long lines. Tensions were high throughout the day as Lukashenko vowed to quash any protests and at least eight opposition campaign staff were detained.