Lukashenko announces referendum


President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko has said that the country will hold a referendum on constitutional changes. Mr Lukashenko did not specify what the referendum would be about.

The opposition and the population in the country have been protesting the election results for five months now. Mass protests in a close ally of Russia followed the August 9 presidential election, the official result of which Alexander Lukashenko, who has ruled the country for almost 30 years, won again.

Part of the population and the opposition accuse him of rigging the elections and the protest has not stopped for several months. Thousands of people have been arrested and injured. The opposition is calling for Lukashenko to resign.

Mr Lukashenko, who has ruled the country since 1994, did not elaborate on the details, but said the agreement would be linked to a redeployment of the president and would be discussed at a meeting of the National Assembly. The Assembly has no formal powers, but Lukashenko has said he will be given that power.

The United States and the European Union have imposed sanctions on Lukashenko’s government over election fraud and the use of force against protesters.