June 3, 2020 / 5:35 PM / a month ago

Belarus president dismisses government - Belta news agency

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko attends the Victory Day parade, which marks the anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany in World War Two, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Minsk, Belarus May 9, 2020. REUTERS/Vasily Fedosenko

MINSK (Reuters) - Belarus’ President Alexander Lukashenko dismissed his government on Wednesday, the Belta news agency reported.

A presidential election is scheduled for Aug. 9, with the incumbent Lukashenko, who has ruled the country since 1994, widely expected to win a sixth term in office.

Earlier on Wednesday Lukashenko said he was not going to radically reshuffle the government.

“A sharp scrapping, replacing all members of the government would be wrong from the point of view of the current moment,” Lukashenko said at a meeting with officials in his office.

“A new generation of leaders has grown up who have shown themselves well and worked well in the government. Why change them? They can work,” he added.

A new government has not yet been announced. The fired Prime Minister, Sergei Rumas, was appointed in 2018.

The current election campaign in Belarus is one of the most active and unpredictable and Lukashenko, a former Soviet collective farm boss who has tolerated little opposition since taking office in 1994, is facing his biggest political challenge in years.

Reporting by Andrei Makhovsky; Writing by Vladimir Soldatkin and Pavel Polityuk; Editing by Alex Richardson, Kirsten Donovan

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