Elected Forever and Ever

The Belarussian President is not going to quit

The Belarussian president is one of the most fruitful newsmakers on the territory of the former USSR. Having dismissed a part of the government together with the prime minister, Alexander Lukashenko could not settle down anyway. It has been rumored that the president of Belarus is going to prolong his authorities of the president for some ten more years. They say that there is a plan of measures to achieve this goal.

Lukashenko stated last week that he was determined to stay on his position until the end of the current term without any changes. The president added, political battles were not going to hit Belarus in the nearest future. Probably, it will happen so indeed, although the opposition does not share this point of view. It was the opposition that caused a commotion regarding the issue of the possible prolongation of the presidential term. They exposed the data of various polls, which allegedly showed, up to 70 percent of the Belarussian population did not support the president.

General Valery Frolov, leader of the deputy group Republic told in an interview to the Nezavisimaya Gazeta, Lukashenko was going to act according to an unexpected scenario to solve his "constitutional problem." The general said, in autumn the president would volunteer to resign for "physical fatigue" reasons. In this case, the special election will take place according to paragraph 81 of the national Constitution. After that, Lukashenko will run for the presidency again, "having taken his people's opinion into consideration." The Belarussian Constitution says nothing about a resigned president can not run or can not be reelected. If it happens, Lukashenko might be  reelected for the third time. This term will not be considered as "the third term in a row," so the fourth time is possible too - it will be a legal, a constitution reelection.

General Frolov thinks the manifestation of the autumn plan can be noticed already. Belarussian authorities are working in the informational field, they are changing the governmental personnel too. The local television broadcasts various meetings and sessions daily, at which Alexander Lukashenko issues strict orders to everyone. On the other hand, people can see his "infinite kindness and simplicity."

A lot of experts believe, though, the events are not going to happen on the basis of the mentioned scenario.  Yet, the opposition is becoming more convinced of the need to hold a referendum. The Belarussian Business Newspaper wrote, Lukashenko had acknowledged as much during a meeting devoted to the Russian ruble in Belarus: "At the referendum people can only extend the list of candidacies that would be given a right to run for the presidency of two terms. Only a national election can elect the president."

In 1996, Belarus held the referendum to change its Constitution. Owing to the referendum, Lukashenko managed to prolong his rule until 2001 and then, according to constitutional changes, he remained the head of the state for a second term. If current rumors about the prolongation of his terms in office are true, one can assume any referendum will result support whatever Alexander Lukashenko desires.

Author`s name Olga Savka