The opposition in Byelorussia enjoys Western support

Opposition parties in the former Soviet state of Byelarus hailed Washington's dismissal of a weekend parliamentary election on Tuesday, but the authorities insisted the poll had been fair and democratic. The U.S. State Department said on Monday it agreed with its European allies that Sunday's election had not been free, fair or transparent and had failed to meet democratic norms. ''The U.S. was the first to see the danger of today's regime in Byelarus. Its position is more tough and objective than that of other (Western) states,'' Andrei Sannikov, one of the leaders of the united opposition, told Reuters. The small but vocal opposition, which enjoys Western support, had boycotted the vote.