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Lukashenko inaugurated secretly amid protests, sanctions threat

September 24, 2020 By 0 Comments

President Alexander Lukashenko of Belarus assumed his sixth term of office on Wednesday during an inauguration ceremony that officials did not announce in advance after weeks of mass protests against the authoritarian leader’s re-election, which opposition activists maintain was rigged.

State news agency Belta reported that the swearing-in ceremony took place in the capital of Minsk with several hundred top government officials, politicians, representatives of media organisations and other prominent figures present.

Lukashenko, 66, took an oath in Belarusian with his right hand on the country’s constitution, and the head of the country’s central election commission handed him the official ID card of the president of Belarus.

“The day of assuming the post of the president is the day of our victory, convincing and fateful,” Lukashenko said at the ceremony. “We were not just electing the president of the country – we were defending our values, our peaceful life, sovereignty and independence.”

Lukashenko has run Belarus, an ex-Soviet nation of 9.5 million, with an iron fist for 26 years. Official results of the country’s August 9 presidential election had him winning 80 percent of the vote. His strongest opponent, Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, got 10 percent.

Tikhanovskaya has not accepted the outcome of the election as valid, and neither have the thousands of her supporters who demanded Lukashenko’s resignation during more than six weeks of mass protests.


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