(Bloomberg) -- Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko scheduled elections to the lower house of parliament for Feb. 25, 2024, setting the stage for the country’s first nationwide campaign since his own disputed reelection three years ago.

Thousands of Lukahsenko’s opponents fled the country or were sent to prison as the result of an unprecedented crackdown following a popular uprising against long-time leader’s new term in 2020. The vote was condemned as fraudulent by the US and European Union. 

Parliament has little real influence in Belarus, where major decisions lie in the hands of Lukashenko, an ally of President Vladimir Putin in neighboring Russia.   

Elections to the Minsk-based upper house of parliament, where candidates are submitted by various authorities, will take place April 4, according to a statement published Monday on the presidential website.

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