(dpa) In the shadow of the war in neighboring Ukraine, the Belarusian ruler Alexander Lukashenko was assured of further power in a constitutional referendum on Sunday. According to a statement by the electoral commission in Minsk, around 65 percent of voters voted in favor of a constitutional amendment, with ten percent voting against, as the Tass agency reported on Monday morning.
The constitutional amendment is intended to allow Lukashenko, who has ruled with an iron fist since 1994, to be in office for more terms and to guarantee him lifelong impunity if he withdraws from politics. In addition, the future permanent stationing of Russian troops and nuclear weapons in the country should also be possible.
According to human rights activists, hundreds of people were arrested during the vote. The human rights group Wesna listed the names of more than 300 people arrested on Sunday evening. The videos published by the human rights activists show how people were taken away by police officers and large groups demonstrated.
According to the electoral commission, 79.4 percent of those entitled to vote took part. The opposition around civil rights activist Svetlana Tichanovskaya had previously criticized the fact that a vote was impossible under the conditions of political repression and the unfree media.
Lukashenko is not recognized by the EU as President. The presidential election in summer 2020 is considered fake. Then there were mass protests.