Belarus’ Lukashenko says he will leave his post after months of protests, state media reports

There is a loud argument among political scientists whether Covid-19 pandemic will further erode democracy across the globe.  Another version of this argument is whether Trumpism is a fad or on its way to become a permanent ideology in American politics. Actually, the two go hand in hand.  Trump has been the sensei for world’s authoritarian leaders, from Brazil’s Bolsanaro, to Turkey’s Erdogan.

 

His departure may have triggered a backlash against authoritarianism.   Belarus’ Lukashenko says he will leave his post after months of protests, state media reports, though this may be a ruse to calm down the endless protests. Russia’s president Putin may have health problems, though Kremlin  regularly deny he is about to retire.  His departure would mean the wingman to Trump in terms of promoting global authoritarianism is also out, leaving the global club of macho one-man rule loving leaders, well, leaderless.

 

President Erdogan of Turkey  is seeking to mend relations with traditional western allies and regional powerhouse Saudi Arabia as rifts with Russia, Joe Biden’s U.S. election victory and the threat of European sanctions force a foreign-policy rethink, people familiar with the discussions said, according to Bloomberg.

 

Coming back to Belarus,  President Alexander Lukashenko said he would step down after a new constitution is adopted, the state-owned BelTA news agency cited him as saying on Friday.

 

“I am not going to shape the constitution to suit my needs,” he is quoted as saying. “I am not going to be the president once the new constitution is in place.”

 

Belarus has been rocked by months of anti-government protests ever since Lukashenko — often referred to as “Europe’s last dictator” — claimed victory in an Aug. 9 presidential election that his opponents say was rigged, a charge he denies.

 

It remained unclear whether Lukashenko’s comments were sincere or whether he was just paying lip service to the prospect of him stepping aside. In any case, it is the first time he has publicly reflected on how the country will be governed when he is no longer president.

 

His comments on the constitution came as he was visiting a Minsk hospital on Friday. He appeared to suggest that the current constitution concentrates too much power in the hands of the president.

 

“We need to create a new constitution but it should benefit the country. I don’t want the country to fall to ruin later on,” he said, according to the news agency.

 

Lukashenko has maintained his grasp on power in the former Soviet nation for the last 26 years and met the protests with a violent crackdown. Hundreds have been arrested and there have been allegations of torture from people held in custody.

 

This is his sixth term as president.

 

 

The latest news comes after the European Union imposed sanctions earlier this month on Lukashenko and 14 other officials over their roles in the security crackdown launched during the protests.

 

Pictures from the streets of the Belarusian capital Minsk earlier this week showed people protesting against police violence, and brandishing the former white-red-white flag of Belarus that has become a symbol of protest in the country.

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Published By: Atilla Yeşilada

GlobalSource Partners’ Turkey Country Analyst Atilla Yesilada is the country’s leading political analyst and commentator. He is known throughout the finance and political science world for his thorough and outspoken coverage of Turkey’s political and financial developments. In addition to his extensive writing schedule, he is often called upon to provide his political expertise on major radio and television channels. Based in Istanbul, Atilla is co-founder of the information platform Istanbul Analytics and is one of GlobalSource’s local partners in Turkey. In addition to his consulting work and speaking engagements throughout the US, Europe and the Middle East, he writes regular columns for Turkey’s leading financial websites VATAN and www.paraanaliz.com and has contributed to the financial daily Referans and the liberal daily Radikal.