Lukashenka proposes constitutional reform

Aljaksandr Lukashenka openly admitted on Monday for the first time that the regime in Belarus is a "somewhat authoritarian system" and is centred around the person of the president. He suggested introducing a constitutional reform to be worked out by specialists and constitutional judges, but there was no talk of dialogue with the opposition. Observers are sceptical.

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Radio Kommersant FM (RU) /

Delaying tactics for the opposition

For Radio Kommersant FM, the talk of constitutional change is nothing but a diversion:

“Lukashenka will make all sorts of progressive statements, philosophise about changes and whether it's not time to curtail the power of the president. And that's it. The opposition will ask: Where are the changes? And the government will reply that it's working on a new constitution. ... But all Belarus's new constitution will do is serve as a guarantee for Lukashenka's safe exit. That's why he's now faced with the task of delaying its acceptance as long as he can, while fighting the protest with demagogy and all the power of the state.”

Lrytas (LT) /

Flirting with the West

Columnist Mečys Laurinkus speculates in Lrytas that Lukashenka may decide to try to cozy up with the West again:

“I wouldn't be surprised if Lukashenka starts another game with the West now. And it may even be successful. So far the EU has only talked about sanctions. It sounded strange when France's President Macron talked of Belarus as if it were a new Ukraine. Germany's position is also unclear. Ukraine is behaving very cautiously. ... It's wrong to hope that Lukashenka, who is armed to the teeth, is standing at his window wondering if he'll soon be attacked. His fall from power is foreseeable, but he's giving himself more time than the opposition Coordination Council or media commentators.”

Polityka (PL) /

President is showing weakness

The weekly Polityka sees Lukashenka on the defensive:

“Nothing indicates that the protests will stop. If Lukashenka doesn't come up with something new they could even get bigger again because people realise that the state power is on the retreat. The security forces realise this too. And Lukashenka's repeated appearances with Kalashnikovs are also rather counterproductive. A self-confident ruler who has everything under control doesn't need to put on such scenes. Nor does he need to make regular calls to Putin, whom he accused of conspiring with the opposition just three weeks ago.”