Work continues along natural path

Both chambers of National Assembly gather for regular sessions

By Vladimir Vasiliev

This is the House of Representatives’ tenth session and the eighth for the Council of the Republic. The parliamentary pre-election campaign is kicking off, with the day of voting yet to be announced. However, the Chair of the Central Election Commission, Lidia Yermoshina, tells us that the date could be anytime from June (until September 23rd at the latest). Parliament will then reconvene in autumn.

As emphasised by the Chairman of the House of Representatives, Vladimir Andreichenko, existing deputies and senators have a duty, alongside the Council of the Republic and the Government, to ‘define the main issues needing solution, in order to close this session beautifully and worthily’: words echoing the wishes of the President. He has assured them that this builds the foundations of the Lower Chamber’s activity. The Council of the Republic’s Speaker, Anatoly Rubinov, sees the restoration of public spending power as the main task and has urged his fellow parliamentarians to keep in mind the wishes of citizens. Speaking in the Oval Hall, Mr. Andreichenko added, “It’s especially important to achieve open dialogue with people, hiding none of our problems. We must show what the authorities are doing to improve standards of living; this is our action plan for the forthcoming election campaign.”

Naturally, both chambers are tackling relations with the EU. Mr. Andreichenko believes that a policy of sanctions contradicts logical partner relations and could have negative consequences. “Such steps contradict the basic interests of the citizens of Belarus and the EU, and the fundamental principles of international relations. They prevent us from enjoying calm Belarus-EU dialogue,” he noted.

The House of Representatives is to study 52 issues this session — covering various aspects. In all, 14 draft laws are having their first reading while another 18 are having their second and 16 tackle the ratification of international agreements. The list will expand as draft laws which are currently being studied by permanent commissions reach their final preparation and co-ordination stages.

According to Mr. Andreichenko, the Law ‘On State Innovative Policy and Activity’ will be given great consideration, as it aims to support small and medium-sized businesses, stimulating innovation. Economic issues are a priority, being studied through the prism of the Customs Union and the Single Economic Space. Meanwhile, state social support will also be hotly debated.

On their first day of work, at its first reading, a draft law ‘On Commercial Secrets’ was adopted, allowing employees who disclose company secrets to be dismissed (a completely new situation). Additionally, a draft law ‘On Changes and Supplements to Some Laws of the Republic of Belarus on Issues of Transplantation of Human Organs and Tissues’ was adopted. This allows Belarus to establish a single register of those opting out of the system of automatic approval for their organs to be donated after death. As the Health Minister, Vasily Zharko, explains, organ and tissue transplantation is developing rapidly in Belarus, making the law one of great importance.

At their first reading, changes and additions were made to Belarus’ Code on Mineral Deposits, simplifying the procedure whereby deposits gain permission for mining — increasing their investment attractiveness and mining efficiency.

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