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But this authoritative position was very soon met by powerful opposition.

The Parliament consolidated in their desire to stop the dictatorship, the Constitutional court advocated democratic principles by turning down the anti-constitutional directives of the President in great numbers. This confrontation between the legislative and executive branches of power reached its peak in April, 1995, when special forces under the President’s command beat up opposition deputies performing a hunger strike. They were protesting against changing the national symbol of the Republic to the Soviet one and making Belarus officially bilingual (Russian in addition to Belarusian), as decided by the President.

The Supreme Soviet was demoralized. Next day it agreed to hold a referendum together with the next presidential elections in May. Alexander Lukashenko won the referendum, and the most important thing was that the country lost its parliament, as some law imperfections led to the situation in which only one third of Supreme Court members recommended by the Constitution were elected.

It was decided to hold additional parliament elections in autumn, but the President and the mass media controlled by the President created an enthusiastic campaign persuading people to ignore these elections. It was a surprise for him when the elections went ahead and the Communist party won.

Author: Handbook on Belarus for International journalists