VILNIUS, September 23. /TASS/. Former Belarusian presidential hopeful Svetlana Tikhanovskaya told the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Parliamentary Assembly on Wednesday that she did not consider Alexander Lukashenko as legitimate president after his inauguration.
"His secret inauguration is an attempt to seize power," Tikhanovskaya said in her speech, according to Reuters. "It also means that after today Alexander Lukashenko is neither a legal nor a legitimate head of Belarus," she said, reiterating the Belarusian opposition’s call for holding new presidential elections.
On Wednesday, Lukashenko was sworn in as president at a ceremony in the Independence Palace in Minsk attended by several hundred people. For the first time this event had not been announced in advance. Lukashenko took the oath of office in the Belarusian language, holding his hand on the Constitution, and signed the act of taking the oath. Later, Central Election Commission Chairperson Lidiya Ermoshina gave him the certificate of the president.
Belarus held the presidential election on August 9. According to the Central Election Commission’s official results, incumbent President Alexander Lukashenko won by a landslide, garnering 80.10% of the vote. His closest rival in the race, Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, came in second, with 10.12% of the ballot. However, she refused to recognize the election’s outcome, and left Belarus for Lithuania. After the results of the exit polls were announced late on August 9, mass protests erupted in downtown Minsk and other Belarusian cities. During the early post-election period, the rallies snowballed into fierce clashes between the protesters and police. The current unrest is being cheered on by the opposition’s Coordination Council, which has been beating the drum for more protests. In response, the Belarusian authorities have castigated the ongoing turmoil and demanded that these unauthorized demonstrations be stopped.