Alexander Lukashenko has been sworn in as President of Belarus during an inaugural ceremony in the Palace of Independence in Minsk.
Several hundred people were invited to attend the ceremony. These were senior officials, members of the House of Representatives and the Council of the Republic, heads of government agencies and organizations, local executive and regulatory agencies, the national media, scientists, figures of culture and sports, the official BelTA news agency reported.
"Under the Constitution of the Republic of Belarus, the President assumes the office after taking the following oath: 'Assuming the office of the President of the Republic of Belarus, I solemnly swear to faithfully serve the people of the Republic of Belarus, to respect and protect the rights and freedoms of man and of the citizen, to observe and protect the Constitution of the Republic of Belarus, and to fulfill strictly and conscientiously the lofty duties that have been bestowed upon me.'"
Read alsoEU foreign ministers fail to reach deal on Belarus sanctionsHolding his right hand on the Constitution, Lukashenko took the oath in the Belarusian language. After that Lukashenko signed the act of taking the oath, and Chairwoman of the Central Election Commission Lidia Yermoshina gave him a Certificate of the President of the Republic of Belarus.
Recent developments in Belarus in brief
- On August 9, presidential elections were held in Belarus.
- The country's Central Election Commission announced the final election results. In particular, 80.1% of voters supported incumbent President Alexander Lukashenko, 10.1% voted for his rival, Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, 1.67% for Anna Kanopatskaya, 1.2% for Andrey Dmitriev, and 1.14% for Sergei Cherechnya. Some 4.59% voted against all candidates.
- Thousands took to the streets to protest what many believe was a rigged vote count. Riot police violently cracked down on protesters.
- Belarus' Ministry of Internal Affairs said about 7,000 protesters had been detained in different cities since August 9. On the evening of August 13, the authorities started to release detainees.
- On August 16, the March of Freedom, the largest protest in the history of Belarus, took place in Minsk. Hundreds of thousands of people joined in.
- On August 17, plants and factories across Belarus launched strikes.
- The Belarusian opposition created a Coordination Council for the Transfer of Power.
- Lukashenko has repeatedly claimed "foreign interference" in the election and external efforts to foment the protests. He spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin who had promised him comprehensive assistance upon request.
- On August 27, Putin suggested sending Russian security forces to suppress protests in Belarus.
- The European Union declared non-recognition of the Belarus election results and reached an agreement to impose sanctions against Belarusian officials in response to vote rigging and the use of violence against protesters. Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia have already imposed an entry ban on 30 citizens of Belarus. Among them is the country's President Alexander Lukashenko.
- On September 13, law enforcement forces again brutally detained protesters during mass rallies throughout Belarus. They used force even against women.
- On September 15, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine adopted a statement on Belarus. Ukrainian lawmakers said the presidential elections in that country were unfair. They condemned repression against protesters and vowed support for sanctions to be introduced by the European Union against Belarusian officials.
- On September 17, the European Parliament announced that Alexander Lukashenko should not be recognized as the president of Belarus when his term expires on November 5. MEPs also declared the Coordination Council of the Belarusian opposition is now an interim representative body of Belarusians.