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Practical reasons to determine referendum's prospects in Belarus

Politics 26.04.2018 | 19:51
Lidia Yermoshina
Lidia Yermoshina

MINSK, 26 April (BelTA) – It is necessary to bear in mind the life of the society instead of theoretical speculations when making the decision on arranging a referendum in Belarus, BelTA learned from Chairwoman of the Central Election Commission (CEC) of Belarus Lidia Yermoshina.

Lidia Yermoshina said: “The president said that there will be no referendum in the near future. It speaks volumes. The Constitutional Court and law scholars have been instructed to analyze how the Constitution is applied in order to make proposals on changing some of the provisions.” Once the experts are done working on possible amendments, the relevant proposals will be submitted for consideration of the head of state. More amendments may be introduced after that or the amendments may be scrapped altogether. “It is necessary to make decisions bearing in mind the life of the society instead of theoretical speculations. What will the economic and social life of the society be? What processes will be in progress? Decisions on any constitutional reforms have to be made bearing these factors in mind,” stressed the head of the Belarusian election organization agency.

Lidia Yermoshina said that every amendment to the law has to answer two questions: what the purpose of modernization is and what the end result and the consequences will be. “It is inadmissible and even harmful to simply sketch out changes without analyzing negative or positive consequences. It must never be done. This is why this work has to be done first and the relevant proposals have to be submitted,” the official is convinced.

The chairwoman of the Central Election Commission specified when the public should be told about a forthcoming referendum. “Polling stations for the referendum can be set up 25 days before the date instead of 60 days. I mentioned 70 days initially. From the technical and legal points of view 40 days is enough to prepare and carry out a referendum,” said Lidia Yermoshina.

As far as political science and the social side of things are concerned, certain nationwide discussions are in order. The discussions cannot be too long because they will politicize the situation. “If the amendments are complicated, two months may be enough. It is the necessary period. We cannot discuss these things for too long. We cannot live on a volcano like that. All political discussions often lead to unpredictable consequences,” noted Lidia Yermoshina.

“The Central Election Commission is not currently involved in making proposals on the necessary amendments to the Constitution. We will speak up later as experts,” said the CEC head. She mentioned a number of minor amendments the agency would like to introduce. For instance, people, who have been detained but have not been accused yet, should have the right to vote because they are not guilty from the formal point of view.

According to Lidia Yermoshina, the proposals of the Central Election Commission can be implemented via the parliament and do not require a referendum. But there are parts of the Constitution, which only a nationwide vote can change. “These are matters concerning the presidential election, powers of the head of state and the parliament. This is why if proposals to amend these chapters are made, then certainly we will need a referendum,” concluded Lidia Yermoshina.

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