In 1995 Belarus's local government was arranged in three tiers: six voblastsi (sing., voblasts'); 141 rayony (sing., rayon) and thirtyeight cities; and 112 towns and 1,480 villages and settlements. Large cities were also divided into rayony.
Under Belarus's new constitution, local councils of deputies are to be elected by the citizens of their jurisdictions for four-year terms and are to have exclusive jurisdiction over economic and social development programs, local budgets and taxes, management and disposal of local government property, and the calling of referenda. In October 1994, Lukashyenka convinced the Supreme Soviet to amend the law on local self-government, much to the dismay of the opposition, who saw the country's administration come under his control in a single stroke. The local councils in villages, towns, and city districts were to be disbanded and placed under the supervision of local administrations. The head of the regional executives was to be appointed by the president, and the local executives were to be nominated by the regional executives (and approved by the president). Thus, the chain of command ran from the top down, as it had in the days of the Belorussian SSR.
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