Belarus' Lukashenko Promises Reform

10:23, 19 January 2012
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Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko...

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has said he may launch political reform following the country’s parliamentary elections this fall, according to RIA Novosti.

Speaking during a meeting celebrating 20 years of diplomatic relations between Belarus and China on Thursday, Lukashenko said he would “think seriously” about reforming the ex-Soviet state’s “political system” after a parliamentary vote in September.

“We study trends in the world and, of course, we will try to keep up [with them] and modernize our country,” Lukashenko, Belarus’ president since 1994, said. However, he added that his country was not in urgent need of reform.

Earlier this month, Belarus adopted a controversial new law restricting access to foreign websites.

Last month, a Ukrainian women’s group claimed Belarusian police kidnapped and abused three of its members after a topless protest in the capital, Minsk.

Lukashenko, described by the United States as “Europe’s last dictator,” is subject to a series of sanctions by Western governments over a brutal crackdown on protests against his disputed re-election as president in December 2010.

Speaking after a wave of public protests against his rule in July last year, Lukashenko defended his tough stance, saying he would not allow  protesters to "impose uncertainty and turbulence" in the country.

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