Belarus will hold a constitutional referendum

Belarusian citizens will vote on a set of constitutional amendments today. President Alexander Lukashenko is currently serving his sixth five-year

Belarus will hold a constitutional referendum today. Photo: Maxim Guchek/BelTA

Belarusian citizens will vote on a set of constitutional amendments today.

President Alexander Lukashenko is currently serving his sixth five-year term. The proposed amendments include limiting the presidency to two five-year terms, though they would give Lukashenko 10 more years in office after his term expires in 2025.

The amendments also provide policymaking powers to the All-Belarus People’s Assembly—a non-parliamentary political body composed of Lukashenko loyalists—and bar those who temporarily left the country in the last 20 years from running for office.

Today’s referendum occurs amid the backdrop of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and also includes an amendment that scraps Belarus’ obligation to remain neutral.

Considering Lukashenko’s long-standing crackdowns on political opposition, expect today’s referendum to involve vote-rigging and the passage of all amendments. With most of his opposition in exile, and the People’s Assembly becoming politically empowered, Lukashenko will continue to strengthen Belarus’ integration with Russia vis-a-vis the 1999 Union State Treaty.

In the short-term, expect Belarus’ non-neutrality amendment to manifest as a political launch pad for Russia’s geopolitical ambitions in Ukraine. With Belarusian-Russian ties deepening, expect joint military activities to ramp up, with Russia further leveraging Belarus in its current assault on Ukraine.

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