MINSK, Jan. 21 (Xinhua) -- Alexander Lukashenko took an oath and officially entered the office of President of Belarus for the fourth time Friday.
The Belarusian leader swore to respect human rights and freedoms at a ceremony which took place at the Palace of the Republic, in the centre of Minsk.
"Assuming the office of President of the Republic of Belarus, I solemnly swear to faithfully serve the people of the Republic of Belarus, to respect and protect the rights and freedoms of man and citizen, to respect and defend the Constitution of the Republic of Belarus, piously and faithfully perform the high duties, assigned to me," said Lukashenko in his oath.
The elected head of state signed an act of oath and received a certificate of the president from Belarusian Central Elections Commission (CEC) chairman Lidia Yermoshina.
The Chairman of the Council of the Republic, Anatoliy Rubinov, was the first to congratulate Lukashenko on taking office.
About 100 journalists, representing national and foreign media, including the world's major news agencies, covered the ceremony. More than 2,500 people were invited to the Palace of the Republic to mark the event. Among them were the leaders of all three power branches of Belarus, the Belarusian president's representatives in the recent elections, members of the National Assembly, leaders of the political parties and public associations of the republic, religious organizations, as well as the foreign ambassadors and representatives of international organizations.
Lukashenko won elections on December 19, 2010. According to the CEC, 79.65 percent of people voted for the current head of Belarus.