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A headshot of Wofgang Schäuble
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Germany's Schäuble: Lukashenko regime 'clearly' at an end

Darko Janjevic
August 18, 2020

The EU should do everything to avert violence in Belarus — but also make clear it is not trying to expand its zone of influence, the head of Germany's parliament, Wolfgang Schäuble, told DW in an exclusive interview.


As Belarus faces mass protests following strongman Alexander Lukashenko's violent crackdown in the country, German Parliamentary Speaker Wolfgang Schäuble told DW on Tuesday that the European Union should ramp up pressure to ensure a non-violent solution.

"Because we can all sense that things can no longer continue as they are in Belarus now," Schäuble said.

Lukashenko has rejected protesters' calls to step down following the disputed presidential election that saw him claim victory. 

In Tuesday's interview, Schäuble, who is a member of German Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative party, appeared certain that Lukashenko's reign was drawing to a close. 

"When a Dictator has come to the end of the road, it's best to find a way forward without further violence," he said. "Clearly a regime is coming to an end in Belarus as well."

EU 'responsibility'

Schäuble said the European bloc also has a "responsibility" towards its neighbors. With regards to Russia and the alliance between Moscow and Minsk, he warned that the EU was not looking to expand its influence.

"As I say, people would be wrong to think that we want to change spheres of influence," Schäuble told DW's Michaela Küfner.

"If we stand up for human rights, non-violence and democracy, that is not directed against anyone, and certainly not against Russia."

Lukashenko has been ruling Belarus since 1994. After seeking his sixth consecutive term in the August election, he arrested or forced key rivals into exile.

The wife of jailed blogger Siarhei Tsikhanouski, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, became a wildcard when deciding to run again Lukashenko on the opposition's ticket. Belarus authorities claim Lukashenko achieved an overwhelming victory at the polls, held on August 9, but this has been disputed by the opposition — with protests escalating across the country following a violent crackdown.

On Monday, Lukashenko hinted there may be a new vote if a new constitution is passed.

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