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Parliament dissolved by President Alexander Lukashenko convenes again

December 27, 1996 GMT

MINSK, Belarus (AP) _ Members of the former Belarusian parliament, which was dissolved by President Alexander Lukashenko, convened again Friday, insisting that they remain the only legitimate legislature.

It was the lawmakers’ second meeting since the authoritarian Lukashenko dissolved the former parliament after winning a Nov. 24 referendum that gave him nearly unlimited authority and extended his term until 2001.

Lukashenko then lured many of his former legislative foes to form a new, pro-presidential parliament.

Meeting in an unheated room of the Literary Center in the capital Minsk, 42 opposition lawmakers said they wanted to demonstrate to the world that they are continuing to protest the president’s actions.

``We are the legitimate parliament. Our legitimacy is acknowledged by the world community, leading international organizations and all developed democratic countries,″ said Pyotr Kravchenko, who headed the former parliament’s foreign affairs commission.