Posted: 04.04.2024 17:37:00

Expert shed light on role of the Council of the Republic

Elections of members of the Council of the Republic of the National Assembly of the Republic of Belarus of the eighth convocation have taken place in Belarus today, April 4th, and a deputy of the House of Representatives, Vadim Gigin, commented on what role the Upper House of Parliament plays

In his talk with Alfa Radio, the MP focused on the history of the issue. “In short, the creation of the Council of the Republic was caused not by a desire to follow the example of countries with bicameral legislatures (there are 40+ percent of such states, and the list includes not only federal, but also many unitary ones). It was due to the situation developing in the mid-1990s, when the all-powerful Supreme Council was generating crises one after another, and people were actually losing confidence in the authority of Parliament. There were four unsuccessful attempts to elect the latter’s full composition, and as a result, short membership of the Supreme Council began to work, barely reaching the quorum. This indicates that the authority of parliamentarism was lost in the mid-1990s due to the behaviour of deputies. Under those conditions, the deputy corps was cut, and a two-chamber body was created,” he explained.

Mr. Gigin added, “The Council of the Republic is actually a council of elders, since people older than 30 can be elected as its members. They already have experience and can combine their main professional activity and the responsibilities of a legislator. It is an expert body, and it is on the basis of the Council of the Republic that expert councils meet – to consider Government resolutions, advise the Head of State when adopting certain decrees, and discuss the effectiveness of law enforcement practice... Of course, the most important function – which has become particularly clear under the chairmanship of Natalya Kochanova – is the work with citizens' appeals. It is the Council of the Republic that co-ordinates this work, preventing officials from resting on their laurels and ignoring something. People know that if a certain issue is not resolved by an executive committee or ministry, then they can address the Council of the Republic – and everything will be settled. Brainstorming and visiting extended meetings of the Presidium of the Council of the Republic are an interesting element of the work. Importantly, the Upper House of Parliament follows the principle of a unitary state, since it co-ordinates the work of local governments – doing huge job. At the same time, senators – with the exception of the Chairman, his deputy and heads of standing committees (there are five of them) – combine their obligations with their main professional activities.”