Alyaksandr Lukashenka has made it clear that he may run in the next presidential election for his fourth term in office.
"If the economy develops normally and we fulfill everything what he have pledged, people will vote for the current authorities and the incumbent president," the Belarusian leader said at a news conference held in Minsk on December 30. "If it doesn’t happen, there will be other people."
Mr. Lukashenka said that he would not use any pressure during the presidential campaign to receive votes or, if he decided against standing for reelection, to "influence the process with administrative tools."
"People should decide by their own," he said. "We remember the first election when I was elected [as president]. One of the reasons behind my victory was the awful pressure on the part of people who were then in power. I face the same situation. Any pressure will have the opposite effect." "So, I take these presidential campaigns easy," he said.
"We will run in the elections honestly and sincerely," Mr. Lukashenka stressed.
The 2004 referendum, condemned by the international community as undemocratic, scrapped the constitutional limit to presidential terms.
When commenting on the next year’s local elections, Mr. Lukashenka noted that they would be a landmark campaign.
He noted his satisfaction with the performance of the local authorities. "I should thank them… for being a kind of a barrier before the president and central government agencies and standing face to face with people," he said. "They bear the main weight of attacks and criticism, which is sometimes undeserved because it is not them who address some issues."
Mr. Lukashenka added that "the state’s stability and order depend much on the local authorities."