Belarus president Aleksandr Lukashenko is apparently attempting to force the resignation of Valery Tsikhinya, chairman of the defiant Constitutional Court that has repeatedly ruled presidential decrees unconstitutional. In the latest instance, on December 26 the Constitutional Court struck down Lukashenko’s controversial decree abolishing a range of accrued rights for various categories of public employees. Lukashenko’s chief of staff, Mikhail Myasnikovich, yesterday was quoted as warning Tsikhinya that he would be dismissed if he did not step down voluntarily. The court "had destabilized the country politically and economically by declaring seven presidential decrees unconstitutional," Myasnikovich was said to have charged. The threat echoed Lukashenko’s own recent public statements that the rulings against his decrees are politically motivated and socially divisive and that he would dismiss the justices. Tsikhinya–who last month had to check into a hospital during a clash with Lukashenko–declined to explicitly confirm or deny Myasnikovich’s threats, only pointing out that there is no need or justification for him to resign and that the president has no constitutional or legal right to suspend the court or its chairman. (11)
Ukraine Ponders Agrarian Reforms.