Belarus president dismisses government

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko speaks during the Victory Day parade, amid the Covid-19 outbreak, in Minsk, Belarus May 9, 2020. — Reuters pic
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko speaks during the Victory Day parade, amid the Covid-19 outbreak, in Minsk, Belarus May 9, 2020. — Reuters pic

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MINSK, June 4 — Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko dismissed the government with a decree yesterday, state television reported, in a move the strongman had said would take place ahead of August presidential elections.

Lukashenko had discussed the makeup of a new cabinet at a meeting earlier yesterday with senior officials.

He said that “on the eve of elections, the acting president has always decided on the government in advance, so people voting know who will work on solving vital issues.”

“You shouldn't expect a revolution to happen with the change of government,” he said.

The 65-year-old former collective farm director who has led the ex-Soviet country since 1994, will stand for a sixth term on August 9.

He opted not to postpone the vote despite the coronavirus pandemic and has not imposed a lockdown.

Belarus, with a population of nine million, has confirmed 45,116 cases and 248 deaths.

The Central Electoral Commission earlier rejected a bid by popular opposition politician Mikola Statkevich to stand against Lukashenko.

On Monday Statkevich was sentenced to 15 days in police detention and dozens of activists were held by the authorities after rallies throughout the country. — AFP

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