Alexander Lukashenko on Friday suggested he would leave his post as Belurusian president after a new constitution has been adopted, it has been reported.
Mr Lukashenko said: “I will not work as president with you under the new constitution,” Belarus’ Belta news agency cited him as saying.
The embattled autocrat did not specify when that day would come but reiterated the need for amendments to the constitution.
MINSK, BELARUS – OCTOBER 30, 2020: Belarus’ President Alexander Lukashenko during an introduction ceremony for the newly-appointed Minister of Internal Affairs of Belarus, Ivan Kubrakov, and Head of the Minsk Chief Directorate of Internal Affairs, Mikhail Grib. Sergei Sheleg/BelTA/TASS (Photo by Sergei ShelegTASS via Getty Images)
Belarus has been rocked by several months of anti-government protests after Mr Lukashenko claimed victory in the August 9 presidential election.
However opponents, including his now-exiled main challenger in the vote, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, said the vote was rigged and have called for his resignation and a new election.
Mr Lukashenko has discussed amending the Belarus constitution, which is seen as an attempt to end the political crisis in the country, and was urged this week by Russia’s Foreign Minister Segey Lavrov to deliver on his promises.
Mr Lavrov said: “We of course have an interest in the situation being calm, stable and we think that beginning the constitutional reform initiated by the country’s leadership would contribute to this.”
Meanwhile protests have continued to sweep the country despite crackdowns from Belarusian security forces.
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Palestinian protesters run away as an Israeli security vehicle chases after them amid clashes following a demonstration against the expansion of settlements in the town of Salfit, West Bank, on Dec. 4, 2020.
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Ukraine’s Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal during a session of the Parliament in Kiev, Ukraine, on Dec. 4, 2020.
Buses that transfer refugees who fled Ethiopia’s Tigray conflict from the Border Reception Centre to Um Raquba refugee camp wait to depart in convoy in Hamdayit, Sudan, on Dec. 4, 2020.
United Nations Secretary-Generals Special Envoy for Syria Geir O. Pedersen makes a statement as he holds a press conference after the 4th session of Syrian Constitutional Committee ended in Geneva, Switzerland, on Dec. 4, 2020.
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Ethiopian Jewish immigrants making their Aliyah (Immigration to Israel) wave Israeli flags as they step off a plane at Ben Gurion International Airport, east of Tel Aviv, Israel, on Dec. 3, 2020.
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Prince Charles, Prince of Wales and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall during a visit to view the ‘Artemisia’ and the ‘Titian: Love Desire Death’ exhibitions at the National Gallery in London, England, on Dec. 2, 2020.
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French President Emmanuel Macron speaks during a video conference with international partners to discuss humanitarian aid for financially-strapped Lebanon in Paris, France, on Dec. 2, 2020.
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Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha (R) gives the traditional greeting or “wai” in Samut Songkhram province, Thailand, on Dec. 2, 2020.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel speaks to the media following a virtual meeting between Merkel and the leaders of Germany’s 16 states during the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic in Berlin, Germany, on Dec. 2, 2020.
Ugandan opposition presidential candidate Bobi Wine leaves after a meeting at the Electoral Commission in Kampala, Uganda on Dec. 2, 2020.
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Iranian President Hassan Rouhani speaks during the Council of Ministers meeting in Tehran, Iran, on Dec. 02, 2020.
Ethiopian refugee doctor Hagos Werash (3rd R) examines patients at Village Eight transit centre, which hosts Ethiopian refugees who fled Ethiopia’s Tigray conflict, in Gedaref, Sudan, on Dec. 2, 2020.
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Members of Iraqi security forces flash victory sign during deployments in Sinjar, Iraq, on Dec. 1, 2020.
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Hong Kong activists Joshua Wong (R) and Ivan Lam are escorted by Correctional Services officers to get on a prison van before appearing in a court in Hong Kong on Dec. 2, 2020.
Ethiopians fleeing from the Tigray region walk towards a river to cross from Ethiopia to Sudan, near the Hamdeyat refugee transit camp on the border in Sudan, on Dec. 1, 2020.
Garment workers of A-One BD Limited stage a demonstration in front of Ministry of Labor demanding their 11 months due wage in Dhaka, Bangladesh, on Dec. 1, 2020.
Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita (R) conducts talks with European Commissioner for Neighborhood and Enlargement Olivér Várhelyi in Rabat, Morocco, on Dec. 1, 2020.
Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar and the veterans of the Turkish Armed Forces Command plant saplings in memory of the Turkish soldiers who lost their lives in cross-border operations in Ankara, Turkey, on Dec. 1, 2020.
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Girls play traditional flute during the celebration of Mahalaxmi Festival in Kathmandu, Nepal, on Dec. 1, 2020.
National Guard personnel and police officers are on duty during the #SaveFOP protest action against the introduction of mandatory fiscal cash registers outside the Verkhovna Rada building, in Kyiv, Ukraine, on Dec. 1, 2020.
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari presides virtually over the unveiling of the National Gas Expansion Programme, in Abuja, Nigeria, on Dec. 1, 2020.
The Olympic Symbol is reinstalled after it was taken down for maintenance ahead of the postponed Tokyo 2020 Olympics in the Odaiba section in Tokyo, Japan, on Dec. 1, 2020.
Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu, otherwise known as Bobi Wine, parades through crowds of people in Jinja, Uganda, on Dec. 1, 2020.
A health official disinfects as a precaution against the coronavirus for the upcoming college entrance exams in a classroom at a high school in Seoul, South Korea, on Dec. 1, 2020.
Senior Hamas official Khalil al-Hayya speaks during a meeting held under the name of ‘National Developments’ in Gaza city on Dec. 1, 2020.
Sikh pilgrims attend a religious festival to celebrate the birth anniversary of their spiritual leader Baba Guru Nanak Dev, at Nankana Sahib, near Lahore, Pakistan, on Nov. 30, 2020.
An Iranian man walks by a billboard of slain Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh in Tehran, Iran, on Nov. 30, 2020.
Ugandan pop star and presidential candidate Robert Kyagulanyi, also known as Bobi Wine, campaigns near Kampala, Uganda, on Nov. 30, 2020.
People light candles around the symbol of AIDS awareness on the eve of the 33rd World AIDS Day in Kathmandu, Nepal, on Nov. 30, 2020.
Director-General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Rafael Mariano Grossi in Vienna, Austria, on Nov. 30, 2020.
A woman wearing a face mask walks on a street as the spread of the coronavirus disease continues in Prague, Czech Republic, on Nov. 30, 2020.
Vice President of Turkey, Fuat Oktay (R) meets Prime Minister of Ukraine, Denys Shmyhal (L) at the Presidential Complex in Ankara, Turkey, on Nov. 30, 2020.
People wearing masks for protection against the COVID-19 infection attend a religious service celebrating St. Andrew in the village of Ion Corvin, Romania, on Nov. 30, 2020.
People, including pensioners, take part in an opposition rally to demand the resignation of Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko and to protest against police violence in Minsk, Belarus, on Nov. 30, 2020.
People ride in a car loaded with belongings on a road in Lachin, Azerbaijan, on Nov. 30, 2020.
A crane lifts a 28-meter (91 feet) tall fir tree in St. Peter’s Square, in the Vatican City, on Nov. 30, 2020.
European Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Oliver Varhelyi stands prior to an informal meeting on EU-Kosovo at the European Council headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, on Nov. 30, 2020.
Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (L) gestures at the House of Peoples Representatives in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on Nov. 30, 2020, to respond to the Parliament on the current conflict between Ethiopian National Defence Forces and the leaders of the Tigray Peoples Liberation Front (TPLF).
Pedestrians and trams on the street decorated with Christmas lights in downtown Zagreb, Croatia, on Nov. 30, 2020.
A mural of Diego Maradona that reads “Dorcol, Brother, Argentina” is painted on a wall in Dorcol neighborhood in Belgrade, Serbia, on Nov. 30, 2020.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (L) meets the President of Egypt Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi (R) in Cairo, Egypt, on Nov. 30, 2020.
Kraavan, the pachyderm dubbed “the world’s loneliest elephant” while it was in Pakistan, walks at Kulen Prom Tep Wildlife Sanctuary in Oddar Meanchey province, Cambodia, on Dec. 1, 2020.
People walk in the street of Algiers, Algeria, on Nov. 30, 2020.
A Hindu pilgrim takes a holy bath in the Bay of Bengal as they perform rituals on the occasion of the Rashmela, a religious festival in Kuakata, Bangladesh, on Nov. 30, 2020.
A view of the site after a bomb-laden motorcycle was detonated in Syria’s Jarabulus, on Nov 30, 2020.
Relatives check the registry of inmates warded at the Eagan’s hospital in Colombo, Sri Lanka, on Nov. 30, 2020, a day after a prison riot over the surge of coronavirus infections.
Ukrainian investors of the construction of apartment blocks in several residential complexes burn flares during a rally demanding the resuming of construction of the residential buildings, near the City Hall in Kiev, Ukraine, on Nov. 30, 2020.
A woman wearing a protective face mask walks in a park during snowfall in Sofia, Bulgaria, on Nov. 30, 2020.
A trailer truck transports Kaavan, Pakistan’s only Asian elephant, as they make their way to the airport before Kavaan’s departure to a sanctuary in Cambodia, in Islamabad, Pakistan, on Nov. 29, 2020. Following years of public outcry and campaigning by American pop star Cher, the “world’s loneliest elephant” was poised to embark on the mammoth journey.
Moroccans protest the normalization deal with Israel to mark the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People in Rabat, Morocco, on Nov. 29, 2020.
Babagana Umara Zulum (C), governor of Borno State, prays during a funeral for those killed by suspected Boko Haram militants in Zaabarmar, Nigeria, on Nov. 29, 2020. Officials say suspected members of the Islamic militant group have killed at least 40 rice farmers and fishermen while they were harvesting crops in northern Borno State.
Law enforcement officers run to disperse demonstrators as they gather to protest against police violence and the Belarus presidential election results in Minsk, Belarus, on Nov. 29, 2020.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (C), attends the 21st meeting of the Political Bureau of the 7th Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea in Pyongyang, North Korea, on Nov. 29, 2020.
Pupils wearing protective masks hold balloons in their school yard on the first day of the new academic year, at Hariri primary school in Baghdad, Iraq, on Nov. 29, 2020, after weeks of delay due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Japan’s Defence Minister Nobuo Kishi (R) meets with Chief of Staff of the French Navy, Admiral Pierre Vandier at his office in the ministry in Tokyo, Japan, on Nov. 30, 2020.
Special Task Force (STF) personnel are deployed at Mahara prison on the outskirts of Colombo, Sri Lanka, on Nov. 30, 2020, a day after a prison riot took place over the surge of coronavirus infections.
Evacuees rest at a makeshift shelter after Mount Ili Lewotolok erupted spewing a column of smoke and ash 13,123 feet (4,000 meters) high, in Lembata, Indonesia, on Nov. 29, 2020.
Newly graduated female soldiers march during their graduation ceremony after a three-month training program at the Afghan Military Academy in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Nov. 29, 2020.
State Prosecutor Rémy Heitz speaks during a press conference, in Paris, France, on Nov. 29, 2020, concerning four police officers detained after a video appeared to show them beating a black music producer in Paris.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara, mask-clad due to the COVID-19 pandemic, attend the opening ceremony for Sha’ar Hagay national site, near Jerusalem on Nov. 29, 2020.
A Nepalese artist dressed as Lord Narsimha performs a traditional dance during Kartik Naach festival at Patan Durbar Square in Lalitpur, Nepal, on Nov. 29, 2020.
Protesters hold mirrors in front of riot police officers during a pro-democracy rally demanding the prime minister to resign and reforms on the monarchy, at 11th Infantry Regiment, in Bangkok, Thailand, on Nov. 29, 2020.
Cuba’s President Miguel Díaz-Canel speaks during a pro-government rally in Havana, Cuba, on Nov. 29, 2020.
Pope Francis takes part in a Mass, the day after he raised 13 new cardinals to the highest rank in the Catholic hierarchy, at St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City on Nov. 29, 2020.
A woman walks by a tribute to coronavirus victims in Prague, Czech Republic, on Nov. 29, 2020.
A World Food Programme employee walks between sacks of food at the Um Rakuba refugee camp which houses Ethiopian refugees fleeing the fighting in the Tigray region, on the Sudan-Ethiopia border in Sudan, on Nov. 29, 2020.
Prime Minister of Ukraine, Denys Shmyhal (L) and Turkish Technology and Industry Minister Mustafa Varank hold talks at Mabeyn Building in Istanbul, Turkey, on Nov. 29, 2020.
Bruno Covas, mayor of São Paulo, celebrates his re-election during the municipal elections in Brazil, on Nov. 29, 2020.
Women cover their noses during a fumigation drive to kill mosquitoes in Dhaka, Bangladesh, on Nov. 29, 2020.
Early this month, an independent report found the country should hold new elections after “massive and systemic” human rights violations.
The document, written by the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), also said that “excessive violence” was used against protesters, amid allegations of “serious cases of torture”.
Supporters of Ms Tsikhanouskaya said on Friday they would lobby state prosecutors in several European countries to investigate accusations of torture by Belarusian authorities.
“It’s terrible in Belarus, and I don’t think anything similar is happening anywhere in Europe. We need outside help”, Maksim Kharoshyn told a news conference in Vilnius, saying he had been beaten by Belarusian police while in detention.
A petition filed with Lithuanian prosecutors on Kharoshyn’s behalf asks them to investigate several officials including Belarusian Deputy Interior Minister Nikolai Karpenkov in the case, said Alexander Dobrovolski, an adviser to Tsikhanouskaya.
Dobrovolski said similar requests would be sent to prosecutors in Poland, Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands, where other alleged victims of Belarusian police beatings now reside.
Belarus denies torturing prisoners and says its police show restraint in dealing with protesters it has said are in league with hostile foreign powers.