Belarusian opposition figures living in Lithuania on Friday dismissed the so-called People’s Assembly convened by Alexander Lukashenko as a “farce”.
“The whole event aimed to conduct reforms in Belarus and solve political crisis was basically a show organised to give Lukashenko a tribune to speak," Franak Viacorka, adviser to former Belarusian presidential candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, told BNS.
"[Lukashenko] promised constitutional changes in the autumn; he didn't do anything and his speech yesterday was not the promise of changes, but it was a promise to think about the changes of constitution," Viacorka said.
"It was just another gathering of loyalists brought mandatorily to the room just to give him legitimacy,” he added.
Lukashenko, who has faced sanctions and mass protests over vote-rigging during the presidential election in August last year, said that a referendum on a new constitution for Belarus could be held in about a year, simultaneously with municipal elections.
"I'm certain that we'll have a new draft of the constitution by the end of this year and will adopt this fundamental legal document in a referendum within the next 11–12 months," the Interfax news agency quoted him as saying.