The President of Belarus on Friday proposed calling for a constitutional referendum in January 2022 and announced the rapid adoption of laws against opposition protests, which began in the summer of 2020.
On the second day of the VI Pan-Belarusian People’s Assembly, the dictator considered it feasible to “combine” the popular consultation and the local elections, which should take place until January 2022. “This way we save resources. I am sure that at the end of the year we will have a new draft Constitution ”, said Lukashenko, quoted by the official news agency BELTA.
The head of state, in power since 1994, defended the reduction of presidential powers, despite pointing out that Belarus will remain a presidential republic. “In these moments of uncertainty about our future, we must, as never before, be careful, cautious and united. Now is not the time to rock it all”, He insisted.
In reference to the revision of the Constitution, Lukashenko rejected “questionable experiences” and said that a constitutional commission will present the necessary amendments in the coming months.
The resolution approved by the Popular Assembly this Friday indicates that this commission will be made up of representatives from the legal, economic and social spheres, but without the participation of the opposition.
Lukashenko, who accuses the West of instigating opposition protests, also suggested that consideration be given to possible waiver of the neutrality status from the former Soviet republic, which received Moscow’s support during the protests.
Opposition leaders have already rejected Lukashenko’s proposed constitutional revision, which they accuse of a fraudulent victory in the August 2020 presidential elections. your own constitutional commission. This deals with proposals for strengthening Parliament’s powers and introducing a mixed electoral system.
In response to the proposal to declare an amnesty, the Belarusian President replied that in his country “There were not and there are no political prisoners”. Lukashenko also announced that Parliament will approve “soon” new laws against mass protests, provocations and other violations of the law. “Like it or not, the process has started. It is important to prevent any mass disorder, and also to see us as a civilized state, ”he said.
Opposition accused again
According to the opposition, Maria Kolesnikova, one of the leaders of the anti-government protests, this Friday was again indicated for having founded an extremist organization and conspiracy to seize power by unconstitutional means.
The head of state, accused by the opposition of ordering the repression of the last months, placed conditions to leave the power: “Peace, order and no protest actions”.
The opposition marked new protests soon. It demands the resignation of Lukashenko, the release of political prisoners and the call for new presidential elections.
Belarus has been the scene of several demonstrations since August 9, when Alexander Lukashenko won a sixth presidential term. In the early days of protests, the police arrested about 7 thousand people and violently repressed hundreds, sparking international protests and threats of sanctions.
The United States, the European Union and several neighboring countries in Belarus, rejected Lukashenko’s recent electoral victory and condemned police repression, now doing some pressure on Minsk to establish a dialogue with the opposition.