Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 196

The 25 parties and groups comprising the coalition "in defense of the constitution against dictatorship" held a congress in Minsk on October 18 and a 20,000-strong rally the following day. Speakers, including parliament vice-chairman Hennadz Karpenka, former National Bank president Stanislau Bahdankevich, Free Trade Unions leader Alyaksandr Bukhvastau, and Popular Front representatives accused Lukashenko and his government of seeking to introduce a dictatorship, rejecting economic reforms, and betraying Belarusan statehood. The speakers warned that Lukashenko could win the referendum only through fraud and his near-monopoly on the electronic media. The parliamentary leaders reaffirmed their offer of a "zero option" whereby both sides would renounce their respective constitutional drafts and abide by the existing constitution. In Washington, the State Department described Lukashenko’s constitutional draft as anti-democratic and asked him to immediately seek a compromise with the parliamentary leadership. (Belaplan, Radio Minsk, Interfax, Itar-Tass, NTV, Western agencies, October 17 through 20)

The Monitor is a publication of the Jamestown Foundation. It is researched and written under the direction of senior analysts Jonas Bernstein, Vladimir Socor, Stephen Foye, and analysts Ilya Malyakin, Oleg Varfolomeyev and Ilias Bogatyrev. If you have any questions regarding the content of the Monitor, please contact the foundation. If you would like information on subscribing to the Monitor, or have any comments, suggestions or questions, please contact us by e-mail at, by fax at 301-562-8021, or by postal mail at The Jamestown Foundation, 4516 43rd Street NW, Washington DC 20016. Unauthorized reproduction or redistribution of the Monitor is strictly prohibited by law. Copyright (c) 1983-2002 The Jamestown Foundation Site Maintenance by Johnny Flash Productions