Lukashenko Signs Law Granting Immunity to Former Belarusian Presidents

Written by Henrik Rothen

Jan.04 - 2024 8:15 PM CET

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Photo: Wikipedia Common
Photo: Wikipedia Common
Lukashenko Signs Law Granting Immunity to Former Belarusian Presidents.

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In Belarus, a significant development in the political landscape unfolded as the country's long-standing leader, Alexander Lukashenko, approved notable amendments to the Belarusian presidency law on January 3.

This law, marking a pivotal moment in Belarusian politics, guarantees immunity for any former president from prosecution. Additionally, the law introduces stricter eligibility criteria for presidential candidates, stipulating that they must be Belarusian citizens over the age of 40 who have resided in Belarus for at least 20 years before the elections.

The legislation also bars Belarusians with foreign nationality or residence permits from standing in presidential elections.

The implications of this law are far-reaching, especially considering Lukashenko's tenure as the sole president of Belarus since 1994, a role he assumed following what is widely regarded as the last free elections in the country after the Soviet Union's dissolution.

His declaration of victory in the August 2020 presidential elections, which lacked independent observers and were followed by a harsh crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators, has been widely condemned as fraudulent by entities such as the U.S. and the EU.

The law's provisions extend beyond the tenure of a president. Not only does it offer immunity from prosecution to former presidents, but it also ensures similar protection to their family members.

Moreover, the president and their family are entitled to the same level of medical care, state security, and transportation after leaving office. The former president will also receive a monthly allowance equal to the president's wage, a lifelong state pension, insurance, medical coverage, and the option to own a state-owned residence.

Furthermore, upon departure from the presidency, a former president is granted a lifelong seat in the upper house of the parliament. These amendments align with changes made to the country's constitution following a contentious referendum on February 27, 2022, and were passed by the Belarusian Parliament on December 22, 2023​​.

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