Belarus to announce vote on constitutional amendments

Belarusian President said on Tuesday he intends to announce a referendum on in the next five years.

The country has been changing over the years and its principal law must reflect the changes, Lukashenko said in an interview with state-owned daily Zvezda.

"As our changed, so did we. The readiness of Belarusians to take responsibility for the country's fate is obvious. And the extent of this responsibility will be determined by the people themselves. But by law! Not on the streets and squares, but through legal relations. Let's start with the constitution," Lukashenko said.

The Belarusians will define their rights, freedoms, and duties, as well as the powers of state authorities during referendum, he added.

Early voting began in Belarus on Tuesday ahead of presidential elections set for Aug. 9 so that people who will be absent on the main election day can cast their ballots.

Belarus is holding presidential elections for the sixth time since attaining independence in 1991 with incumbent President Lukashenko, who has been in office since 1994, seeking another term.

The presidential campaign was marked by numerous scandals, arrest of Lukashenko's main rival Viktor Babaryko -- a 56-year-old former banker -- and growing popularity of the opposition.

Also, the country's national intelligence agency threatened to "strengthen security measures" at polling stations and switch off the internet "if necessary for providing security" and "fair elections" as according to Lukashenko, the agency had found evidence of "external interference" which might try to influence the elections via internet.



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