MINSK, December 6. /TASS/. NATO would have expanded up to Russia’s Smolensk if Belarus’ opposition had come to power during last year’s presidential elections, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said on Monday.
"It would have been our biggest mistake if we lost the race last year. The country would have simply ceased to exist," BelTA agency quoted him as saying. "If they came to power just for one day, NATO would have reached Smolensk by now. It is enough to seize power for one day and invite foreign troops here. The president can do it under the constitution. Their president would have used this opportunity."
That is why, in his words, the authorities "are trying to align the constitution somehow."
According to Lukashenko, it is inadmissible in the current situation to concentrate power in the hands of one person. "We are not living in the mid-1990s when the situation was catastrophic, with no one having any idea of what to do and where to go. Yes, there were risks of giving such a constitution to one person," he noted. "But I don’t think we have done anything super-harmful for the nation. We have established a state and we must protect it. And now, we should drop the practice of concentrating power in the hands of one person, either mine or anyone else’s."
Society demands changes too, he noted. "That is why we need a new constitution. Not because ‘Lukashenko needs this constitution.’ Look, Lukashenko has enough of these constitutions, power and the like. It is not about Lukashenko, it is about preserving stability in our country," he stressed.
The opposition, seated abroad, is fighting against amending the constitution, he noted. "Look, what are you afraid of? If people vote down amendments at the referendum, this constitution will stay in force, the government will remain as it is," he said, adding that the opposition is obviously seeking to get back to the 1994 constitution, split property, reshape the government and end up with what exists "under Lukashenko." "This is a circle they apparently want to make, but it won’t do with us," Lukashenko stressed.