Publication: Monitor Volume: 1 Issue: 116

Having fired the Internal Affairs minister and his deputy, President Aleksandr Lukashenko of Belarus is now taking aim at the Constitutional Court. Earlier this month, the court ruled against Lukashenko on the constitutionality of several of his presidential decrees. The Court on Tuesday unexpectedly canceled its scheduled consideration of yet another decree, this one entitled "On Regulating Privileges for Some Categories of Citizens." Insiders believe the cancellation may have resulted from a phone call the previous night from the president to Court chairman Valery Tikhinya. (11) Given Lukashenko’s modus operandi, it’s not unlikely that he threatened one or more of the judges with dismissal.

Lukashenko has appointed one of his aides, Colonel Viktor Sheiman, minister of the interior to replace the sacked Yuri Zakharenka, thus continuing his practice of running the country through a few close protégés. Lukashenko’s habit of routinely exceeding his constitutional jurisdiction at the expense of parliamentary and executive organs of authority probably made it only a matter of time before he locked horns with the Constitutional Court, the only institution in Belarus which, at least in theory, still has the ability to rein in the president.

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