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Belarusian President Names New Premier, Reshuffles Government


New Belarusian Prime Minister Syarhey Rumas (November 2015 photo)

Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka has appointed a new prime minister and carried out a significant reshuffling of the government.

In a decree published on the presidential website on August 18, Lukashenka tapped Syarhey Rumas, head of the state-owned Development Bank, as prime minister to replace Andrey Kabyakou, who has served as head of the government since 2014.

Lukashenka also named Alyaksandr Turchin, the cabinet's chief of staff, as first deputy prime minister. Ihar Petrishenka, ambassador to Russia, was named deputy prime minister in charge of social affairs.

Lukashenka also replaced several ministers.

Lukashenka hinted that he would reshuffle the government on August 14 after a visit to the eastern part of the country during which he complained that his instructions were not being carried out.

"These matters have been on the agenda for some time, at least for me as the president," Lukashenka was quoted in his decree as saying. "And they became particularly urgent after the events in eastern Belarus. At that time, I made the decision to renew the government, especially its leadership."

Lukashenka, an authoritarian who has ruled Belarus since 1994, said he made his decisions in consultation with "civil society."

With reporting by RIA Novosti and Interfax
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