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Belarus: Lukashenka Criticizes Parliament As "Inefficient"

Minsk, August 6 (RFE/RL) -- Saying the country's parliament has so far proved to be "inefficient," Belarus President Alyaksander Lukashenka stepped up his criticism of the legislative body.

Lukhashenka accused parliament of having adopted only five laws over the last five months, according to an interview published today by the daily "Narodnaya Gazeta" and cited by Itar-Tass,

Lukashenko said the legislature has ignored his proposal for joint actions. He also said parliament is de-facto an obstacle to economic reform.

Lukashenka said he is displeased by the fact that some deputies combine their parliamentary work with activities in private and state-run companies. He called on deputies holding executive jobs to quit then within a month and be involved in legislaAug 8 20:10:22 afpd[9577]: afp_enumerate: stat BBBB.HTML: No such file or directory tive activity only.

On Sunday, Lukashenka vowed to press ahead with a campaign to extend his powers, saying he will call a series of referenda if parliament does not approve a new constitution he is proposing. He has also vowed to hold referenda on banning private ownership of land.

Lukashenka also said there was no need for by-elections to fill 51 vacant seats in the 250-seat parliament.

"People don't like bureaucrats," he said, adding, "Deputies don't keep their promises."