Alexander Lukashenko to change the law so that the National Security Council, where his son plays a leading role, take power in the event of a president’s death during his tenure.
Long-time Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko has said he will amend the law on presidential succession so that the National Security Council, where his son plays a leading role, will take power in the event of the death of a president during his term of office.
“Tell me, if there is no president tomorrow, do you guarantee that everything is going to be okay?” No, ”President Lukashenko told reporters on Saturday during a visit to the areas affected by the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in April 1986, according to the Belta news agency.
“I will sign a decree on the establishment of power in Belarus. If the president is shot, the next day the security council will get power, ”he said.
Many observers have suggested that Lukashenko, who has ruled with an iron fist since 1994, aims to establish a political dynasty, although he denies it.
The president himself is the head of the National Security Council, but his eldest son, Viktor Lukashenko, also has a seat and is seen as its informal head.
Under current law, the prime minister takes presidential powers if the presidency becomes vacant, but Lukashenko said on Saturday that the prime minister would only be the nominal leader and all decisions would be made by the 20-member security council. people.
Months of protests
Last year, Lukashenko faced months of massive protests calling for his resignation following an allegedly rigged election in August that won him a sixth term.
State authorities responded forcefully to the protests, with tens of thousands detained and hundreds sentenced to long prison terms. Almost all of the major opposition figures are in prison or in exile.
Lukashenko has dismissed the allegations of rigging and has repeatedly claimed that the protests were instigated by the West. Last week, Russia arrested two Belarusians who allegedly led an attempt to stage a coup and the assassination of Lukashenko. Lukashenko claims the plot had US backing.
On Saturday, he claimed that NATO was planning to send troops to the country if the coup were to occur, bringing them to the Russian border.
“It was a springboard, I always told you, to attack Russia. It was the first step, ”he said.
Belarusian opposition leaders this week expressed fears that Lukashenko would seek much closer ties with Russia as his power waned, leading to a loss of sovereignty for the nation of 9.5 million people.
Lukashenko traveled to Moscow on Thursday for a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.