Washington, D.C. – Representatives Eliot L. Engel, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and Michael T. McCaul, Ranking Member of committee, today released the following statement on Alexander Lukashenko’s attempt to solidify his grip on power by holding an abrupt, illegitimate inauguration:

“A truly legitimate leader does not need to hold a secret swearing in ceremony. In the face of historic and peaceful protests against his dictatorial rule in Belarus, this ‘inauguration’ only reinforces just how unbelievable Alexander Lukashenko’s claims are that he won 80% of the vote in the fraudulent August 9 election. We call on the Lukashenko regime to engage with the National Coordination Council and to listen to the voices of the Belarusian people demanding free and fair elections under independent observation.”