MINSK, September 23
Ignoring calls for an end to his 26-year grip on power, President Alexander Lukashenko of Belarus was sworn in for a sixth term on Wednesday after an election that the opposition and several foreign governments say was rigged.
The ceremony would normally have been publicised as a major state occasion but was instead held without warning following Lukashenko’s claim of a landslide victory in the Aug. 9 election.
The opposition, which has staged more than six weeks of mass protests demanding his resignation, denounced the inauguration as illegitimate and called for more demonstrations on Wednesday evening.
The United States and European Union are drawing up sanctions against officials involved in the election and a subsequent crackdown by the security forces. The 66-year-old leader said the country needed safety. — Reuters
Never accepted him as Prez: Germany
- Germany reiterated that it did not recognise Alexander Lukashenko as President and called for EU sanctions to be agreed as soon as possible.
- Lukashenko has so far withstood the protests with backing from his ally, President Vladimir Putin of Russia. Belarus matters to Russia as a buffer state against NATO.