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Belarus: Parliament Chair Warns of Fascism

Minsk, 11 September 1996 (RFE/RL) - The chairman of the Belarus parliament has reiterated his concerns that a constitution proposed by President Alyaksandr Lukashenka would lead to dictatorship.

"It smells of fascism in this country," Semyon Sharetsky said in a statement released today.

Parliament and the president have been involved in a heated dispute over Lukashenka's draft constitution, which he wants to place before voters November 7. It would add a second parliamentary chamber, a third of which would be appointed by the president. It would also extend Lukashenka's term to 2001, empower him to appoint key government ministers, and to dissolve parliament.

Parliament members have called for a referendum on November 24, and say they will offer an alternative draft which would abolish the post of president.