Belarus President Open to Handing Over Power, Rival Urges Military to Switch Sides

Lukashenko suggests transfer after referendum

A possible resolution to the Belarus power struggle emerged Monday, when President Lukashenko said he would be willing to hand over power if a referendum calls for him to do so. He says he won’t step down just from demands of protesters.

Lukashenko has been Belarussian president since 1994, which is the entire history of the office. Sviatiana Tsikhanouskaya is also claiming the office now since the recent, contested election, which Lukashenko has claimed is a color-coded revolution.

Tsikhanouskaya is now calling on the military to switch to her side, and says she’s ready to assume power. That seems unlikely, barring anything sudden, with a referendum the most likely outcome.

Critics suggested Lukashenko was buying time with the referendum. He had previously said he’d rather be killed than have another election.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.