Work on the preparation of amendments to the Constitution has entered the home stretch
This fact was especially underlined by Aleksandr Lukashenko, opening a joint meeting of the Constitutional Commission and a specially created working group to finalise the draft Basic Law
“A lot has been done,” stated the Head of State. While working on the draft of the Basic Law, the Constitutional Commission first introduced the developed proposals, accumulating, among other things, numerous initiatives by citizens. This option was taken as a basis by the working group, which focused its activities on a number of unresolved fundamental issues and tried to formulate solutions to issues where the Constitutional Commission had not succeeded.
“Crucial constitutional norms were developed as a result,” noted the President. “The status of the Belarusian People’s Congress was formalised, powers were distributed between government bodies and the stability of the state apparatus was guaranteed. The working group confirmed that transitional provisions were formulated. I do not think that these are final provisions, it is still necessary to work on them, even radical improvements may be necessary.”
“The key amendments to the Basic Law are aimed at significantly strengthening people’s rule,” said Aleksandr Lukashenko. “With this in mind it was proposed to formalise the status of the Belarusian People’s Congress in the Constitution and give it powers that are strategically important for maintaining stability in the country. As I have said more than once, the Belarusian People’s Congress is our veche [a popular assembly in medieval Slavic countries]. I believe that this institution of people’s rule chimes in with centuries-old traditions and the way of life of Belarusians.”
The Head of State noted that the Belarusian People’s Congress is not a new body for Belarus, “It just belongs to the Constitution. And here it is not a matter of personalities. I stress that there should not be any specific personalities in the Constitution. Lukashenko doesn’t make the Constitution for himself.” At the same time, the Head of State noted that Belarus will remain a presidential republic, “This is how we will protect the foundations of statehood. We will preserve and consolidate the continuity of our historical experience. But let’s be frank, and I will publicly speak about this today: everything will depend on which President will replace this current President. Therefore, we are insured by the Belarusian People’s Congress. You see that it has not become easier or calmer around us.”
At the crossroads
Belarus is located at a crossroads, the intersection of the interests of the West and the East and each of the parties has its own interests. Therefore, they will not give our country a quiet life, believes the President. In this regard, he recalled how, due to the interests and actions of other countries, Belarus suffered during numerous wars, including WWII.
“We have created our own independent sovereign state, which has existed for more than a quarter of a century,” said the President. “And this state must be preserved for future generations. For children, you need to leave a normal well-governed country.”
In the near future, the prepared draft of the Basic Law will be submitted for national discussion, and at this stage every citizen will be able to become a participant in the constitutional process, noted Aleksandr Lukashenko.
According to the Head of State, sociological studies show that 50-60 percent of the population are ready to come to the referendum and support the draft Basic Law. “But if we do a good job, publish the draft Constitution, tell people about the innovations, explain once again why we are adopting this Constitution, I am sure that people will support us, as it was at the turning point in the mid-1990s,” said Aleksandr Lukashenko without doubt.
“Therefore, I would ask you to meet with people in labour collectives, at their places of residence, in public associations. We need to actively appear in the media, talk about the Constitution. In a word, take the initiative,” said the President, directing the participants of the event. “Citizens should come to the referendum with a clear understanding of the essence of all innovations and the need for their adoption.”
On the plans of the self-exiled opposition: ‘It is ridiculous’
During the meeting, Aleksandr Lukashenko also spoke about the new plan of the fugitives to destabilise the situation in the country before the referendum, “I must warn you that those who loudly demanded changes, who wanted the president removed, ousted, killed and so on, oppose the changes and the amendments to the Constitution today.”
The Head of State said that he was aware of a plan hatched by the self-exiled opponents of the current government and promised to make it public, “I want people to know what they are planning. It’s ridiculous. By devising this plan they hope to get funding. Being a person who has already seen it all, I wonder whether the West will get dump again and earmark the money for this.”
“They are already preparing to sabotage the Constitution referendum and, if their plan comes through, to bring Belarusians onto the streets again,” said the President, noting that in this case, apparently, history has not taught them anything.
Head of the Belarus President Administration, Igor Sergeyenko:
In the course of the work, 77 articles were changed, 11 new ones appeared and a new chapter is proposed. The changes also affected the preamble, which enshrines the preservation of national identity and sovereignty, as well as cultural and spiritual traditions as the basic principles of the Constitution. These norms became the implementation of society’s requests to consolidate our national, state identity. After all, a truly independent state can only be made with a strong nation... An equally important constitutional message is the preservation of the historical truth and memory of the Great Patriotic War and the heroism of our people. It is also important to consolidate other new norms, such as the preservation of traditional family values, the support for young people, families with children, disabled people, the development of nuclear energy exclusively for peaceful purposes, the protection of personal data and others.
Chairman of the Constitutional Court and the Constitutional Commission,
The constitutional changes take into account the urgent needs of society. The constitutional provisions on the redistribution of powers in the system of state power have been adjusted in order to expand the competence, independence and responsibility of state bodies. At the same time, the presidential form of government and the balance of powers of other authorities are preserved... After the nationwide discussion, certain adjustments and clarifications will still be made on the text of the Constitution. Now, the task in a nationwide discussion is to hear the requests from our citizens and to give specific explanations.
Chairman of the Standing Commission of the House of Representatives on Education, Culture and Science, member of the Constitutional Commission,
The new draft Constitution is many times more democratic than the current Basic Law. This applies, in particular, to the redistribution of powers between the branches of government, increasing the role of the prime minister, parliament and the judiciary. Yes, this is not the American Constitution, but Belarus will never have that. As there will be no French or British, but there will be Belarusian... Belarus has never been so independent and self-sufficient as it has become during the presidency of Aleksandr Lukashenko. The domestic and foreign policy of our country, its social model is determined here, in Minsk, in the Palace of Independence.
Based on the materials of sb.by and belta.by Photos by BELTA