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Lukashenka postpones address to nation, parliament

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The Oval Hall in the National Assembly of Belarus / belarus.by

Alyaksandr Lukashenka has postponed his annual presidential address to the nation and the National Assembly.

He was originally scheduled to deliver the address at a joint session of both parliamentary chambers on 19 April. Under the tradition, this always happens in mid-April. But this year, there is no official information about it yet.

With less than 10 days left until the end of April, the schedule of the House of Representatives indicates that this month deputies will no longer gather in the Oval Hall. They will work in their commissions in the coming days followed by four days off and work in their constituencies.

The work schedule of the House of Representatives / house.gov.by

MP Andrey Savinykh who chairs the Standing Commission on International Affairs told Euroradio that the date of the address is yet to be set,  adding that "it will certainly take place but later than usual." 

Other MPs, contacted by Euroradio, have no information about the date of Lukashenka's address either.

As early as March 26, Telegram channel Pul Pervogo (President's Pool) associated with the press office of the Belarusian president, wrote that the work on the address was "in full swing" and "there's not much time left - three weeks at the most." In other words, the address, as usual, should have taken place at the end of the second or beginning of the third decade of April.

"They say that the structure at first glance was already clear and the first one was under consideration [by Alyaksandr Lukashenka - Euroradio] for several weeks. There is not much time left, by our calculations it is about three weeks. However, at the present time, forecasts are an unreliable business. So we wait! I'm sure you're waiting, too. This year we are even more anxious than usual."

However, in three weeks the situation in the country has seriously changed. Oil prices have collapsed, and along with them fell the ruble rate against the dollar and the euro. An agreement was eventually reached on Russian oil supplies in 2020. The situation with coronavirus spreading in Belarus now looks much more serious: since March 26, the number of patients with confirmed COVID-19 has increased from 86 to 6,264. Therefore, the structure of the address, which was "at first glance" "already clear", will probably need to be rewritten.