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EU, US Say Belarus' Lukashenko Not Legitimate President

EU, US Say Belarus' Lukashenko Not Legitimate President

Thursday, 24 September, 2020 - 08:15
Lukashenko at his secret inauguration. Photo: Andrei Stasevich/BELTA/AFP via Getty Images

President Alexander Lukashenko is not the legitimate president of Belarus, the European Union said on Thursday, saying his abrupt swearing-in on Wednesday went directly against the will of the people.

"The so-called 'inauguration' ... and the new mandate claimed by Aleksander Lukashenko lack any democratic legitimacy," the EU's 27 states said in a statement.

"This 'inauguration' directly contradicts the will of large parts of the Belarusian population, as expressed in numerous, unprecedented and peaceful protests since the elections, and serves to only further deepen the political crisis in Belarus."

On Wednesday, the State Department said the US no longer recognizes Lukashenko as the legitimate president of Belarus, hours after he was officially sworn in for a seventh term.

"The United States can not consider Alexander Lukashenko the legitimately elected leader of Belarus," said a State Department spokesperson in a statement on Wednesday.

"The path forward should be a national dialogue leading to the Belarusian people enjoying their right to choose their leaders in a free and fair election under independent observation," the statement said.

Lukashenko’s swearing-in ceremony took place at Independence Palace in the capital Minsk, the presidential press office said in a statement.

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