The politics of Belarus takes place in a framework of a presidential republic, whereby the President of Belarus is the head of state. Executive power is exercised by the government, at its top sits a prime minister, appointed by the President. Legislative power is vested in the bicameral parliament, the National Assembly, however the president may enact decrees that are executed the same way as laws, for undisputed time. Belarus's declaration of independence on 27 July 1990, did not stem from long-held political aspirations but from reactions to domestic and foreign events. Ukraine's declaration of independence, in particular, led the leaders of then Belarusian SSR to realize that the Soviet Union was on the brink of dissolving, which it did.
After the establishment of a Republic on August 25, 1991, Stanislav Shushkevich was selected to be the first Belarusian leader and held this position until 1994. During that time frame, Shushkevich directed his country in a way to become free from its Soviet past and try to look towards the West. His successor, Alexander Lukashenko, changed all of that upon assuming office in 1994 and began to turn his attention away from the West and back towards Russia. And, during his rule, Lukashenko began to re-instate Soviet-era functions and reintroduced the symbols from Soviet Belarus. Lukashenko, who is still in power, has caused increased focus on his country due to his leadership manner, which has been considered authoritarian by some and a dictatorship by others.
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“Writing is the continuation of politics by other means.”
—Philippe Sollers (b. 1936)