Belarus: Alexander Lukashenko sworn in as president, state media reports

After weeks of protest surrounding the disputed August election, the inauguration was unexpectedly brought forward. Belarus state media report that it took place in a secret ceremony.

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has been sworn in for a sixth term, the official news agency Beltra reported Wednesday.

The inauguration took place in secret and with no prior announcement. Hundreds of top government officials were reportedly present for the ceremony held in the capital, Minsk.

The ceremony would normally have been publicized in advance as a major state occasion. However, Lukashenko’s disputed election victory on August 9th has unleashed weeks of mass protest across Belarus. 

Lukashenko has been in power for 26 years, and the opposition says the election was rigged. Much of the international community has also rejected Lukashenko’s claim that he won the election with 80% of the vote.

more to come…

wmr/rt (AFP, dpa, Reuters)