Politics of Belarus
The politics of Belarus takes place in a framework of a presidential republic with a bicameral parliament. 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 de jure 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.
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During Soviet times in the present day Belarus, it had a communist political system that was constitutionally defined as a Marxist–Leninist single party socialist republic guided in part by the political ideas of Karl Marx, one of the fathers of historical materialism, Friedrich Engels and Vladimir Lenin. The sole legal governing party was the Communist Party of Byelorussia (CPB), which was permitted according to the constitution.
Belarus' declaration of sovereignty on 27 July 1990, which 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 heads an authoritarian government and has often been referred to by media outlets as "Europe's last dictator". Elections are not considered to be free and fair by international monitors, opponents of the regime are repressed, and the media is not free.