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Belarus renounces nuclear-free and neutral status - results of "referendum"

This will allow Russia to deploy nuclear weapons in the country.

Belarus renounces nuclear-free and neutral status - results of "referendum"
Military exercises of the Armed Forces of Belarus
Photo: EPA/UPG

A "referendum" was held in Belarus on 27 February to consider changes to the country's constitution.

According to DW, the new version lacks those elements referring to the country's nuclear-free and neutral status.

According to the Belarusian Central Election Commission, 78.63% of citizens took part in the vote, of which 65.16% supported the new version of the constitution, as reported on Belarusian Radio Svoboda.

Slightly more than 10% voted against.

In the European Union, this referendum is considered invalid, because there are thousands of political prisoners in Belarus, and the results of the 2020 presidential election were falsified.

Lukashenko had instructed a draft of a new Constitution be prepared after the mass protests in 2020 against fraud in the presidential election. According to the Central Election Commission of Belarus, Lukashenko received 80% of the vote and his rival Svitlana Tikhanovska only 10%, but few in the country believe these figures. An alternative vote count, conducted using a special online platform, showed that Tikhanovskaya won the presidential election in Belarus in the first round.

In the new version of the Constitution restrictions will be imposed on the consecutive number of times one can hold a presidential post. According to the head of the constitutional commission, Petro Myklashevych, one person will not be able to hold the Office for more than two terms. Lukashenko has already been president for five consecutive terms, and the legitimacy of the current sixth term is not recognized by the European Union, the United States, Britain, Ukraine and a number of other countries. 

However, the adoption of the Constitution does not mean that he will have to resign. In similar circumstances, Putin's presidential term was nullified in Russia, allowing him to remain in power until 2036.

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