Belarus Supreme Soviet chairman Mechislau Hrib has petitioned the Constitutional Court to review the constitutionality of president Aleksandr Lukashenko’s unilateral appointments of two deputy prime ministers, the defense minister, and the country’s prosecutor general, without requesting legislative approval. Under the constitution, the nominations to these posts are subject to approval by the legislature. Hrib said that this is the legislature’s last constitutional challenge to the president before the repeat legislative elections scheduled for November 29. He would not convene a plenary session of the legislature until the president instructs the prime minister and the finance minister to appear before the chamber and report on the execution of the budget. Hrib made clear that he would not initiate impeachment proceedings and called for executive-legislative cooperation in seeing the country through the election period. (21)
The Court has recently ruled twice in the legislature’s favor: it confirmed its powers against Lukashenko’s claim that those powers had expired, and it found Lukashenko in violation of the constitution for changing by presidential decrees the state budget approved by the legislature. Hrib looks set for another victory but he and the court seem to lack the means to enforce the constitution against the president. Moreover, Hrib and his parliamentary supporters, including the opposition Popular Front, may be unable to muster a quorum for a plenary session on impeachment or on any subject, because Lukashenko’s campaign to demoralize and pressure the legislature has caused many deputies to stay away from its work. Yet the court’s independence and the legislative leadership’s resolve in defending its prerogatives set a useful example for other CIS countries whose presidents show authoritarian ambitions.
Boeing on the Move.