Alyaksandr Lukashenka was inaugurated for his fourth term as president of Belarus on January 21, a month after the central election commission announced his victory in the December 14-19 presidential election.
The 56-year-old Lukashenka allegedly received 79.65 percent of the vote that was criticized by the observation mission of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights as falling short of democratic standards.
"While taking office as president of the Republic of Belarus, I solemnly swear to serve the people of the Republic of Belarus faithfully, respect and protect the rights and liberties of the person and citizen, observe and protect the constitution of the Republic of Belarus, discharge the high duties incumbent on me sacredly and conscientiously," Mr. Lukashenka said at his re-inauguration ceremony at the Palace of the Republic in Minsk, reading out the Belarusian-language text of the oath.
Mr. Lukashenka took the oath before members of the Belarusian National Assembly, judges of the Constitutional Court, Supreme Court and Supreme Economic Court, other high-ranking officials and foreign guests.
Speaking at the ceremony, the chair of the central election commission said that Mr. Lukashenka was reelected by the will of the Belarusian people. "The voters made this responsible decision, casting their ballots in a free and democratic election," said Lidziya Yarmoshyna.
On Thursday, the Belarusian foreign ministry’s spokesman said that as many as 32 heads of foreign diplomatic missions and representative offices of international organizations had confirmed their attendance at the re-inauguration ceremony. He did not specify which missions and organizations those were.
Meanwhile, the heads of the European Union’s diplomatic missions left Belarus on the day of Mr. Lukashenka’s re-inauguration for Vilnius to take part in an international conference on the Belarusian government’s post-election crackdown on opponents.
The head of the US diplomatic mission in Belarus, Charge d’Affaires Michael Scanlan, left for Hrodna on January 21.
The election night in Minsk saw a mass anti-Lukashenka demonstration that ended with riot police’s brutal crackdown on protesters. Hundreds of people were subsequently jailed over the peaceful protest. More than 30 people, including five presidential candidates, have been charged with the organization of mass riots that carries a prison term of up to 15 years. Almost all of them are now held in the detention center of the Committee for State Security (KGB).