UPD 11.45 (Minsk time). Alyaksandr Lukashenka has been sworn-in as the President of Belarus in an inaugural ceremony in the Palace of Independence, state-run news agency BelTA reports.
Since the very morning, there have been numerous reports about dozens of special vehicles parked near the Palace of Independence. Lots of soldiers in dress uniforms were spotted not far from the residence of Alyaksandr Lukashenka.
Belarusian webizens suggested that an inauguration ceremony or its rehearsal might be taking place in Minsk. It is also known that a pro-Lukashenka march is to be held on Wednesday evening. It should be noted that when reached by RIA Novosti on Wednesday morning presidential press secretary Natallya Eysmant did not give the exact date of the inauguration, promising to reveal it ‘short of’ the ceremony.
Apparently, all the preparations for his sixth assuming the duties of the head of state have been kept under wraps. What is more, the event has not been broadcast, which is contrary to the Belarusian law.
“The day of the president’s inauguration is a day of our common victory, a convincing and fateful victory. We did not just elect the president of the country. We defended our values, our peaceful life, sovereignty and independence. In this regard, we still have a long way to go,” BelTA quotes Lukashenka.
Eyewitnesses informed Belsat TV about what was going on in the vicinity of the Palace at that moment: “There are cordons and fences, plainclothes persons do not let anyone [walk along adjacent streets].”
The Minsk police sealed the entire Independence Avenue from Minsk Ring Road to Sverdlov Street; Victors’ Avenue is blocked off as well.
At about 11 am, Lukashenka’s cortege was driving through the city centre.
According to the unconfirmed information provided by NEXTA telegram channel, the possible dates of the inauguration are September 23, 27 and 28.
Constitutionally, the inauguration of the President of the Republic of Belarus shall take place no later than two months after the day of election. The ceremony must be attended by deputies of the House of Representatives and members of the Council of the Republic, judges of the Constitutional, Supreme and Supreme Economic Courts.
According to the Belarusian Central Election Commission, 80.1% of voters supported Alyaksandr Lukashenka in the 2020 presidential election. Belarusian officials state that his strongest opponent Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya got 10.12% of votes. However, on the back of announcing the results of the official exit polls, Belarusians started to take to the streets, claiming that their votes were stolen.
Since August 9, post-election protests have been underway in the country; the major demands of Belarusians are Lukashenka’s resignation; holding a free and fair election; releasing political prisoners; putting an end to police violence as well as propaganda on state-run TV stations.