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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Constitution Rapped

MINSK, Belarus () -- A Belarussian opposition leader denounced the draft of his country's new constitution that President Alexander Lukashenko wants to push through at a referendum this fall.

The draft, published Saturday in Belarussian newspapers, has "classical features of a typical dictatorship," said Leon Bortschevsky of the Popular Front.

Bortschevsky noted that the draft grants the president the right to set election dates, call parliament sessions, dissolve parliament and appoint judges, Central Election Commission officials and most Constitutional Court members. "A clear shift toward the strengthening of presidential powers strikes the eye," Bortschevsky said.

Lukashenko has set the date for the referendum for Nov. 7. The carefully worded constitution draft, if adopted, would in fact extend his term until the year 2001.