EU says Belarus’ Lukashenko not legitimate president

By Robin Emmott

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – President Alexander Lukashenko is not the legitimate president of Belarus, the European Union said on Thursday, saying his abrupt swearing-in on Wednesday went directly against the will of the people.

“The so-called ‘inauguration’ … and the new mandate claimed by Aleksander Lukashenko lack any democratic legitimacy,” the EU’s 27 states said in a statement.

“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.”

(Reporting by Robin Emmott; Editing by Toby Chopra)