Monday, April 10, 2006

Lukashenko Takes the Oath

From the Newsline:
BELARUSIAN PRESIDENT TAKES OATH OF OFFICE. President Alyaksandr Lukashenka took the oath of office in the Palace of the Republic in Minsk on April 8, thus formally beginning his third presidential term, Belarusian and international media reported. In a speech after the swearing-in ceremony, Lukashenka said the March 19 presidential election, in which he officially won 83 percent of the vote, demonstrated "the unity of the authorities and the people" in Belarus. The president blasted his opponents both at home and abroad for what he said was their desire "to humiliate Belarus -- this islet of stability -- and turn it into another testing ground for color revolutions." He stressed that "certain countries" are seeking to export "foreign techniques of destruction, total chaos, poverty, and spiritual degradation" to Belarus. "Unfortunately, this crusade against Belarus is being spearheaded by our neighbors -- newcomers to the European Union," Lukashenka added. After the speech, Lukashenka donned a military uniform to hear an oath of allegiance that Defense Minister Leonid Maltseu read in front of several thousand troops on October Square, where the opposition staged a series of antipresidential protests last month. JM

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