The authoritarian leader of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko, denied his own earlier statement that he was grooming one of his sons to succeed him at the country’s top job, which Lukashenko has held since 1994.
“I’m more and more surprised to read and hear about Lukashenko being meant to stay forever and ever,” Belarusian president was cited as saying by local news agency Belta on Monday.
“I repeat for the umpteenth time, without making apologies: my children have had more than their fair share of presidency under their father. There cannot be any hereditary transfer of power,” said Lukashenko, 57.
His words were an obvious reference to his own statement made during his trip last month to Venezuela, where he was accompanied by his youngest son Nikolai, aged seven.
“We have someone to relay the baton to in 20 or 25 years,” Lukashenko said during a meeting with his Venezuelan counterpart and ally Hugo Chavez, who was approached by Nikolai during an official ceremony.
Lukashenko has two adult sons, Viktor and Dmitry, by his estranged wife Galina.
Nikolai’s mother is reportedly Irina Abelskaya, who served as Lukashenko’s personal doctor.
Lukashenko said in 2007, when Nikolai was three years old, that his youngest son is a “unique man” and will be groomed for succession. It remained unclear how serious he was at the time.