Belarus: Lukashenko sworn in as president

Clay Curtis
September 23, 2020

But Belarus, an ex-Soviet nation of 9.5 million, is facing the prospect of United States and European Union sanctions over the disputed election after it was followed by a crackdown by Lukashenko's security forces against opposition protests demanding his resignation.

"The secret inauguration illustrates the level of trust of the leader in the official results of the election and in the people".

Belarus opposition leader Sviatlana Tikhanovskaya travelled to Brussels to try to convince the European Union to follow through on its threat to impose sanctions on some 40 Belarusian officials over the disputed August 9 vote. "And our task now is to build a new Belarus together", she said, adding that European countries are ready to support the protest movement.

After he was sworn in, the head of the country's election commission handed him a card identifying him as the President of Belarus.

Inaugurations, as in other countries, are normally major events, held with pomp and announced weeks in advance. "Then elections chief Lidiya Yermoshina presented him with presidential credentials".

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Lukashenko's strongest election opponent, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, got 10% of the vote according to the official results. Under the security of riot police, in a setting of secrecy and concealment in a narrow circle of hurriedly summoned bureaucrats.

A prominent Coordination Council member, Pavel Latushko, compared the inauguration to a "gathering of thieves" and refused to recognize Lukashenko as the president of Belarus. Putin made this statement during his talks with Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko in Sochi.

Germany said it still does not recognise Lukashenko as president of Belarus even after his inauguration on Wednesday. For us, the citizens of Belarus, for the worldwide community, he is now no one.

Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius called Wednesday's inauguration ceremony "such a farce". "An unfortunate error of history and a disgrace of the civilized world", Latushko said on the messaging app Telegram.

There were calls on opposition social media for people to protest on Wednesday evening.

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