Alexander Lukashenko Photograph:( Reuters )
Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko on Monday said that a new presidential election would be held in the country after a new constitution is adopted
Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko on Monday said that a new presidential election would be held in the country after a new constitution is adopted.
Lukashenko is facing protests across the country after being in power for 26 years after a disputed election took place on August 9. Earlier on Monday, he had said that no new elections will happen.
"This is what will happen... We need to adopt a new constitution. That is what you wanted", he said.
"We need to adopt it via a referendum since this was how the previous constitution was approved. Under this new constitution, elections could be held - parliamentary, presidential, and local - if that is what you want", he said.
"We'll put the changes to a referendum, and I'll hand over my constitutional powers. But not under pressure or because of the street," Lukashenko said, in remarks quoted by the official Belta news agency.
Yes, I'm not a saint. You know my harsh side. I'm not eternal. But if you drag down the first president you'll drag down neighbouring countries and all the rest", he announced.
Ukraine recalls ambassador
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba on Monday said that he had recalled the ambassador to Belarus for consultations in a bid to assess the prospects of further bilateral relations between the two countries "in the new reality".
"The development of events in Belarus, whose society has expressed a vote of no confidence in the official results of the presidential elections in Belarus, is fundamentally changing the situation in Belarusian-Ukrainian relations," Kuleba said.
EU summit on Wednesday
Germany on Monday said that the country is ready to expand European Union sanctions against Belarus as a bloody crackdown continues in the country.
EU ministers had recently made a list of targets in Belarus to impose sanctions on them. Germany’s spokesperson Steffen Seibert said that even stronger measures are needed.
"Of course we are looking at the option of expanding the sanctions to other leading figures," Seibert said.
Leaders of the European Union will hold an emergency video summit on Wednesday to discuss the ongoing crisis in Belarus, where protests continue to intensify against the reelection of President Alexander Lukashenko.
"The people of Belarus have the right to decide on their future and freely elect their leader. Violence against protesters is unacceptable and cannot be allowed," EU Council President Charles Michel tweeted.