Belarusian state media have reported that longtime Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has announced that he will step down after the new constitution comes into force.
Why this is important: Lukashenko faced three months of struggle following tough elections in August. He has promised to reform the constitution to reduce the full powers of the president, but has insisted that his strong hand is needed to see the process through.
“I will not serve as president with you under the new constitution.”
– Lukashenko Friday
Between the lines: Lukashenko has not been in power for 26 years by accident, and he now simply has no chance of fading – at least not willingly.
- He has been slowing down the process of constitutional reform, while at the same time dismantling the opposition and ensuring continued support from the security services.
- Although he eventually announced his plans to step down, he seemed to have opened up the possibility of taking on a role other than that of president.
Reverse: Frank Vyassorka, a top adviser to the opposition leader and self-proclaimed president of “Democratic Belarus” Tweeted The opposition movement “continues to insist on elections before constitutional reform.”
Large image: Lukashenko, an almost Soviet-style nationalist, played for years against each other in the West and Russia, taking what he could from both relations.
- But the United States and the European Union have turned violent against him over allegations of torture against protesters following the August fraudulent election.
Must See: Russia presented Lukashenko’s public performances in the midst of the post – election uprising, but analysts have long predicted that the Kremlin would want to become more flexible and politically toxic president.
- Visit Thursday Minsk, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov publicly encouraged Lukashenko to move forward with the long-promised constitutional reforms.
- “We are certainly concerned that the situation is calm and stable, and we hope that the initiation of constitutional reform initiated by the country’s leadership will contribute to this,” Lavrov said.