Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 169

In several speeches in recent days, president Aleksandr Lukashenko has announced his intention to conduct on his own terms the constitutional referendum on maximizing his powers, and to follow his own schedule. Lukashenko ordered local governments to conduct the referendum on November 7, the anniversary of the Bolshevik revolution. Further, he told them to put only his own propositions on the ballot, and not the parliament’s. The president has also issued a 500-page, five-year economic development plan, based on state control of the economy and which promises general prosperity at the end of this period. He also summoned a "Belarus People’s Congress" for October 19 to endorse his plans. Lukashenko accuses the parliament of setting the stage for an armed confrontation with the presidency, and warns that he might take measures to prevent such a development. (Belaplan, Radio Minsk, September 9 through 11)

The legislature has voted to hold the referendum on November 24 and to add its own propositions to the ballot. At least for the time being, Lukashenko is heavily outgunned in parliament. Nevertheless, he is in a strong position to overcome the resistance to his plans. He may dissolve the chamber if necessary, and he fully controls the mass media and the security agencies.

…Plans to Merge Border Troops with Russia’s.