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Opposition politician down on compromise with Lukashenko on reform of Belarus constitution

According to Valery Tsepkalo, the promises of a constitutional reform are a guise for stalling for time

MINSK, 21 августа. /ТАСС/. One of the leaders of Belarusian opposition Valery Tsepkalo, a former candidate who failed to enter the Belarusian presidential race, has spoken against a compromise with incumbent Belarusian president Alexander Lukashenko on the issue of a constitutional reform.

"No compromises. Lukashenko has been promising a constitutional reform for 10 years yet every time was returning proposals for revision," the former presidential candidate who was denied registration by the Central Election Commission stated on Friday during a video conference with journalists.

According to him, the promises of a constitutional reform are a guise for stalling for time. He also noted that nobody even "knows the essence of the amendments" proposed for Lukashenko's review or dismissed by him.

Earlier Lukashenko had stated readiness to redistribute presidential powers but only within the framework of the constitutional reform. According to him, new elections are possible only after the approval of the new Belarusian constitution.

Opposition falling short of its goals

According to Valery Tsepkalo, the Belarusian opposition failed to reach its goals. "Unfortunately, it happened so that we had to leave Belarus. You all know the reasons very well. We tried to focus on informing foreign public, both Western and Russian, about what is going on in the republic, so that the regime would cease to exist in the republic, and that a normal, worthy democratic election could be held," he said.

This did not happen, Tsepkalo lamented. He added that the West should have recognized Tikhanovskaya as president and ideally, declare Alexander Lukashenko persona non grata in Belarus instead of just deeming the elections undemocratic and not in line with international standards.

'No' to Ukrainian scenario

The opposition in Belarus says it is not looking to repeat the Ukrainian scenario of 2014 for a transfer of power, and insists that this must be done through legitimate mechanisms, said Valery Tsepkalo.

"We don’t want the Ukrainian scenario," he stressed. "A revolution took place in Ukraine, and this revolution was outside the framework of the electoral cycle," said Tespkalo.

Belarus, for its part, had an election, and the opposition wants "to find a legal way to get out of this situation," the politician pointed out. "All scenarios except for this one are undesirable for our country. Nobody wants bloodshed," Tsepkalo insisted.

Belarus held its presidential election on August 9. According to the Central Election Commission’s final data, incumbent President Alexander Lukashenko won 80.10% of the vote, whereas Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, who was considered his key rival, garnered 10.12% of the ballot. Subsequently, she refused to recognize the outcome of the polls.

After the results of exit polls were announced late on August 9, mass protests flared up in downtown Minsk and other cities, which spiraled into clashes with police. The protests dragged on for several days and, according to the Interior Ministry, over 6,000 people ended up in custody.