Lukashenko Says Re-Election is ‘Out of The Question’

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko visited the Minsk Wheel Tractor Plant to meet with workers amid reports of strikes, according to Russian news agency TASS.

During his visit, Lukashenko received a report that plants in the country were mostly operating normally, according to the BelTA news agency.

The Belarusian president stated that no presidential re-election will take place in the country.

“You will not live to see the day I do anything under pressure. There will be no re-election. Because, in that case, there will be no MZKT [Minsk Wheel Tractor Plant], no MAZ [Minsk Automobile Plant] no BelAZ [the quarry truck plant]. Everything will be destroyed in half a year then,” Lukashenko said, according to the BelTA news agency.

When commenting on calls for strikes, the Belarusian president that “150 and even 200 people don’t set the tone at a plant.” “The thing to understand is that the ‘bad’ president has maintained an excessive number of workers to make sure that no one is thrown on the street,” Lukashenko noted. “Who wants to work, let them work. And as for those who don’t want to work, we can’t make them,” the agency quoted him as saying.

According to a TASS correspondent, the president’s helicopter later left the plant.

Meanwhile, several dozens people have gathered at the plant’s gate. Some are holding posters demanding Lukashenko’s resignation. The gathering particularly involves Minsk Cable Networks employees. They expect workers from the Minsk Automobile Plant and the Minsk Wheel Tractor Plant to join them. A man in civilian clothes addressed the gathering on behalf of law enforcement agencies and asked them to leave as they are taking part in an unauthorized activity. However, the people said they would not leave because they had the right to express their opinion.

Belarus held a presidential election on August 9. According to preliminary results, incumbent President Alexander Lukashenko received 80.1% of the vote while his main rival Svetlana Tikhanovskaya garnered 10.12%. Protests erupted in the country’s capital of Minsk and several other cities following the presidential vote, leading to clashes between protesters and law enforcement officers. According to the Belarusian Interior Ministry, several thousand people were detained while dozens of police officers and demonstrators suffered injuries. Opposition leaders called for strikes to increase pressure on the authorities.

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