The increasingly unpopular leader of Belarus is planning to rewrite some rules before he leaves office. He wants to change the law about who will follow him as president of the Eastern European nation. Why? He’s hoping his son will play a prominent role in the future of Belarus.
President Alexander Lukashenko has ruled Belarus with an iron fist since 1994. Many observers are suggesting that the authoritarian (dictator-like) leader aims to establish a political dynasty. Lukashenko denies the charges.
Under current Belarusian law, the prime minister takes presidential powers if the presidency becomes vacant. Lukashenko announced over the weekend that the minister would be the leader in name only.
On paper, Lukashenko wants to transfer power to Belarus’ 20-person national security council. The council would make all decisions. But Lukashenko himself is the head of the council. His eldest son Viktor also has a seat. Viktor Lukashenko is widely regarded as the council’s informal leader.
Lukashenko intends to sign a decree to make the change in the near future.
Transfers of power often reveal the true character of a leader. It’s rare to see a leader who adheres to the advice of Matthew 20:26: “Whoever would be great among you must be your servant.”
Last year, Lukashenko faced months of unrest in his country. Protesters called for him to step down in the wake of an election in August. The allegedly rigged vote gave him a sixth term in office.
Lukashenko has repeatedly claimed that the protests were provoked by the West. Last week, Russia arrested two Belarusians who supposedly led an attempt to organize a government overthrow and the assassination of Lukashenko. He claims the plot had backing from the United States.
On Saturday, Lukashenko also claimed that NATO planned to send troops into the country if the coup occurred. He pointed out that such a move would bring NATO to the Russian border.
“It was a springboard, I always told you, to attack Russia. It was the first step,” Lukashenko stated.
Lukashenko traveled to Moscow last week for a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Belarusian opposition leaders are voicing fears that Lukashenko would seek much closer ties with Russia as his power wanes. Critics assume that closer ties could mean the nation of 9.5 million people would lose its independence from its former ruler: Russia.
What do you think about Lukashenko’s plan to rewrite his country’s law about presidential succession? Why do democratic countries often put limits on terms for the highest offices in the land?
(Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko talks with the media during his visit to the Polesie State Radioecological Reserve in Belarus on April 24, 2021. Sergei ShelegBelTA Pool via AP)