MINSK, 28 September (BelTA) – In the course of work on amendments to the Constitution and work on defining the status of the Belarusian People's Congress it is important to avoid a conflict of authority of the head of state and the Belarusian People's Congress. Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko made the statement during an expanded session of the Constitutional Commission on 28 September, BelTA has learned.
Aleksandr Lukashenko said: “Everyone wonders what authority should be transferred upwards. We are going to discuss it. I have no final solution. I only understand that there should be no diarchy in the country. The head of state must be the head of state.”
Aleksandr Lukashenko pointed out that experience of organization of Belarusian People's Congresses has already been accumulated and should be used, including for the sake of determining how many members a congress needs according to the updated Constitution. For instance, previous congresses gathered about 2,500-3,000 people. Proposals have been made now to limit the number to about 500 people, which is slightly more than the number of parliamentarians. “Today we want to reduce the Belarusian People's Congress to 500 people. Is it right if we look it from this angle? Possibly not quite. Moreover, it is not a constantly operating body,” he pointed out.
Aleksandr Lukashenko also drew attention to how often the Belarusian People's Congress will meet according to the Constitution or laws. “If it is a constitutional body, then certainly not once every five years,” he believes. In his opinion, it will be necessary to organize the main fundamental assembly every five years in order to determine priorities for the next five-year term. The practice of working out five-year plans has proven its worth. Many countries use it now, even those who were skeptical about it and called it the Soviet legacy.
Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed: “A Belarusian People's Congress needs debates and has to decide on fundamental things. And constantly operating bodies of power starting with the president and ending with municipal government agencies, agencies that make decisions should follow this path.”
The president stressed that decisions made by the Belarusian People's Congress must be fulfilled without fault. This provision should be stipulated by the draft Constitution. “If we decide on some social matters, that's it. Neither the president nor anyone else can disregard it. Those are fundamental decisions of five-year plans,” he said.
The head of state noted it might be advisable to also arrange annual sessions of the Belarusian People's Congress in order to review the fulfillment of five-year plans and the performance of authorities.
“If an emergency happens… On western borders, god forbid (it is of immediate interest now), or what's more important – on southern borders? The world is changing and we will have to decide on these matters,” Aleksandr Lukashenko noted.
“We've determined that some restraining factor is necessary. Not only for the president. For the society as a whole. This is why we've come up with the Belarusian People's Congress, with this collective body. But neither the chairman nor the presidium should have the authority that will loom over other government agencies and particularly the president. Because the presidential republic will be lost then. It will be a step towards diarchy,” the head of state stressed.
The president also pointed out the Belarusian People's Congress's important role in transferring experience from the older generation to the younger one for the sake of forestalling possible errors. “We don't interfere. The future is free to create! But we will watch. We've created this state, we have more experience, we see in what direction things should develop,” Aleksandr Lukashenko pointed out.
“The outgoing generation has done a lot for the country. It is experienced. It should not interfere with the new generation as the latter creates new life and moves forward. But it should have the right and the authority to watch and to stop wrong steps if necessary,” the head of state added.
Aleksandr Lukashenko also mentioned speculations claiming that he might assume the post of the chairman of the Belarusian People's Congress in the future. “I told Natalya Ivanovna [Kochanova, Chairwoman of the Council of the Republic of the National Assembly of Belarus] at times when she mentioned the matter of the Belarusian People's Congress: remember it and pass the word to others – if Lukashenko even agrees to become the chairman of the Belarusian People's Congress, you should thank me on your knees for my agreement instead of accusing me of wanting something for myself…” the head of state noted. Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed he had been fed up with the presidency over the years and he had said so repeatedly.
Aleksandr Lukashenko said: “Once there is a new president, he will tell you what kind of job it is, particularly in Belarus. Nothing like America where presidents are crazy. What does the president do over there? If I worked like that, the country would have perished a long time ago. They can make an error and correct it by printing dollars. But the printed dollars result in worldwide inflation.”