Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 189

Some 110 out of 199 Belarusan deputies have signed a proposal for a compromise in the constitutional conflict with president Aleksandr Lukashenko, essentially on his terms. The proposal envisages: renouncing the parliament’s constitutional draft and the plan to put it to a referendum on November 24; accepting the referendum called by Lukashenko for November 7 to endorse his own constitutional draft; and amending the presidential draft only in order to increase the number of seats in the Lukashenko-proposed bicameral parliament and to empower the current parliament to appoint the new upper chamber. Lukashenko has hastened to accept this proposal and will address the parliament to cement the deal. In a parallel move the Communist party — which in principle stands for a parliamentary as opposed to a presidential system — has disavowed the constitutional coalition’s plan to call a National Congress for the Constitution and Against Dictatorship as well as a mass rally in Minsk on October 19. Communist leaders now say that the event might provoke disorder since a pro-Lukashenko congress is scheduled for the same day. (Belaplan, Radio Minsk, October 8 and 9)

Two weeks ago the parliament, supported by the Constitutional Court, had proposed a zero option whereby the president and parliament would renounce their respective constitutional drafts and referendum plans and would pledge to observe the existing constitution. That balanced proposal has now been superseded by the proposal of the 110, which would amount to a capitulation in exchange for guaranteed seats for most incumbent deputies in the emasculated parliament sought by Lukashenko.

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