Dec 27, 2014 8:11 AM

Lukashenko names new PM, central bank head

The Associated Press

MINSK, Belarus (AP) The authoritarian president of Belarus has replaced his prime minister, the head of the national bank and an array of other top officials as the country weathers economic troubles.

The economics and industry ministers also were replaced by President Alexander Lukashenko on Saturday. He appointed his former chief of staff Andrei Kobyakov as the new premier.

Belarus has retained a Soviet-style command economy to a large degree and concerns are rising that it will suffer from a spillover of the economic crisis in neighboring Russia. Earlier this month, Belarus imposed a 30-percent fee on currency exchanges in a move to stave off panic.

Lukashenko, in power since 1994, is expected to seek another term next year. Analysts suggested the Cabinet reshuffle was aimed at assigning blame ahead of the election.


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