On September 23, Alexander Lukashenko has sworn in again in Belarus’ capital, Minsk as the country’s elected president, state media reported.
However, citizens and the international community, including the European Union (EU), and the US condemn his inauguration.
Lukashenko has been Belarus’ president for 20 years since its separation from Russia,
This is now Lukashenko’s sixth term in office.
The Belarusian Government held the inauguration discreetly.
According to the Guardian, there were no announcements about the inauguration to avoid attracting protesters in the event.
However, the plan did not work as there are reports of protesters and the police clashing in Minsk, hours after the inauguration.
US State Department’s Statement
The United States of America no longer “consider” Lukashenko the rightful leader of Belarus, the State Department announced on Wednesday, Axios reported.
“The path forward should be a national dialogue,” the department’s spokesperson said in a statement.
The dialogue should lead to “Belarusian people enjoying their right to choose their leaders in a free and fair election,” the spokesperson added.
Condemnation from the European Union
The European Union(EU), through its High Representative, Josep Borell Fontelles, also denounced Lukashenko’s “so-called ’inauguration’” on Wednesday.
The August 9 Belarusian Presidential elections “were neither free nor fair,” said the EU in a statement.
“EU does not recognize” the manipulated results.
Due to those reasons, the EU believes Lukashenko’s presidential claim “lacks any democratic legitimacy,” the EU said in the statement.
EU’s statement on Lukashenko is a reiteration of its statement since August when Lukashenko announced his victory in the election.
Moreover, the EU also warned Russia from intervening in Belarus, and to respect Belarusian’s wishes and democratic choice.
Russia, however, pledged to assist Lukashenko when the need arises.
Protests in Belarus
In August, Lukashenko announced a landslide victory against his rival in the presidential elections.
The announcement sparked numerous protests in Belarus and has been ongoing up to this day calling for Lukashenko’s ouster.
The opposition challenges the claim and asserts Lukashenko’s number one rival, Svetlana Tikhanovskaya as the real winner.
The majority of the people of Belarus also back this claim and believe Lukashenko manipulated the results.