Some 45 deputies from the forcibly dissolved Belarusan parliament, including a majority of its presidium’s members and of its commissions’ chairmen, held a session at the Minsk Literary House on December 10-12. The deputies resolved to hold regular meetings at least once a month. They also empowered the presidium to continue working as a permanent body and set up two standing commissions to handle organization and information.
In an appeal to domestic and international public opinion, the deputies reaffirmed their refusal to recognize the recent, rigged constitutional referendum and announced that they will ensure the continuity of the legitimate parliament. They also called on foreign parliaments and international organizations not to recognize as legitimate the organs of state power created under the new presidential constitution. Only the legitimate parliament is entitled to represent Belarus in the Parliamentary Assemblies of the Council of Europe (PACE) and of the OSCE and in other interparliamentary bodies, the appeal stated. The PACE informed Minsk yesterday that its upcoming plenary session will consider depriving the new Belarusan parliament of the guest status that had been granted to the now-dissolved parliament.
The rump parliament is not quite as toothless as it may seem. Demonstrations for democracy and independence were held on December 8 and 10 in Minsk. The authorities arrested dozens of participants, imposing heavy fines on some and instituting civil proceedings against others. (Belapan, Interfax, December 10-12)
Karabakh Rebuffs OSCE.