The European Union considers the “so-called inauguration” of Alexander Lukashenko as president of Belarus illegitimate, the bloc’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said in a statement on Thursday.
Lukashenko was sworn in for a sixth term as president on Wednesday morning. The low-key ceremony took place without prior announcement as mass protests over last month’s disputed election continued.
Borrell reiterated that the EU does not recognize the “falsified results” of the election, adding: “On this basis, the so-called ‘inauguration’ of 23 September 2020 and the new mandate claimed by Aleksandr Lukashenko lack any democratic legitimacy.”
The United States and a number of EU countries, including Germany and the Baltic states, have already issued similar statements in response to Wednesday’s inauguration.
“This ‘inauguration’ directly contradicts the will of large parts of the Belarusian population, as expressed in numerous, unprecedented and peaceful protests since the elections, and serves to only further deepen the political crisis in Belarus,” Borrell said, adding that the EU was reviewing its relations with Minsk.
He also called on the Belarusian authorities to “refrain from any further repression” and release all detainees. The EU, he said, supports the “democratic right [of the Belarusian people] to elect their President through new free and fair elections.”
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