Long-time Belarus leader Alexander Lukashenko 'must go', says French president Emmanuel Macron

Thousands of Belarusians have taken part in huge rallies since the 9 August presidential election, which they say was rigged in favor of Lukashenko

The Associated Press September 27, 2020 18:13:09 IST
Long-time Belarus leader Alexander Lukashenko 'must go', says French president Emmanuel Macron

File image of Belarusian president Alexander Lukashenko at his inauguration ceremony at the Palace of the Independence in Minsk, Belarus. AP

Paris: France is stepping up the pressure on Belarus' longtime leader Alexander Lukashenko, with President Emmanuel Macron telling a prominent French weekly that "Lukashenko must go."

The European Union said on Thursday it does not recognize Lukashenko as president of Belarus because of large-scale protests by Belarusians who question the results of last month's presidential election that Lukashenko claims he overwhelmingly won. Opposition members and some poll workers in Belarus say the vote was rigged.

Ahead of a trip to Lithuania and Latvia on Monday, Macron was quoted in Sunday's Journal du Dimanche newspaper as saying "it's clear that Lukashenko must go."

"What's happening in Belarus is a crisis of power, an authoritarian power that can't manage to accept the logic of democracy and is clinging on by force," the newspaper quotes Macron as saying.

In a speech to the virtual UN General Assembly on Saturday, Belarus' foreign minister warned Western nations against interfering or imposing sanctions over the country's disputed presidential election and the government's violent crackdown on protesters.

Thousands of Belarusian citizens have taken part in huge rallies since the 9 August election, which they say was rigged in favor of Lukashenko, who has been in power for 26 years and just took a secretive oath of office for a new term.

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