MINSK, 21 October (BelTA) – Belarus should continue to be a presidential republic, but the power within the country should be balanced, Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko said at a meeting with a working group on finalizing the draft constitutional amendments on 21 October, BelTA has learned.
The head of state noted that the self-exiled opposition is trying to convince everyone that the new Constitution is being drafted to meet the needs of the incumbent president. Aleksandr Lukashenko debunked this myth: according to him, it is the existing Constitution that secures a strong presidential power. “To be frank, the existing Constitution accommodates the president the most. According to the opposition's criteria, this is the best Constitution any president can dream of. This Constitution is really very tough. Many experts say that we have an authoritarian government due to this Constitution; this is true. We explained why we drafted this Constitution and why it caters for the president. Thus, any other Constitution will be ‘weaker' or, as they say, ‘more democratic' than the current one,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.
According to the head of state, the time has come to redistribute the powers between the authorities at the constitutional level. Their duties and areas of responsibility should be split, but the country should still remain a presidential republic, Aleksandr Lukashenko is convinced. According to him, this idea is upheld by the overwhelming majority of Belarusians, as they support a strong presidential power.
“I strongly believe that Belarus should be a presidential republic if we want to retain the country. And the Belarusian People's Congress is being involved not because someone in attendance or the incumbent president is craving to lead it, but in order to maintain the system of checks and balances, as lawyers say. This is one of the fundamental things – checks and balances; all laws and legislative acts, and above all the fundamental law, rely on checks and balances” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.
The president stressed that the new Constitution should be drafted taking into account constructive opinions of Belarusian citizens disregarding what self-exiled opposition says. “We will hear them, whether we want it or not, but if we respond to every this and that coming from people living in Poland or Lithuania and working off the money received from Americans, Germans and others, we will have no time to work and take care of our own people, and we will not be able to address any issue, be it COVID or the sanctions,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.
According to the head of state, the task of the working group is to carry on the work started by the Constitutional Commission. “Naturally, the working group consists of experienced statesmen and executives, people from all walks of life. It is they who should shape the new Constitution. The main thing in the work of this group is to prevent the loss of balance in the system of government. It is important to avoid the overlapping of functions and authorities of key government agencies and to ensure the coherence of their work,” the Belarusian president said.
A reminder, at the expanded meeting of the Constitutional Commission on 28 September the head of state determined who and how would finalize the draft Constitution prior to the referendum. Upon his instruction, a working group was set up to finalize the draft amendments to the country's fundamental law.
“I will meet with them often to answer some questions. And before submitting that draft Constitution to the nationwide discussion, we will meet again in the same composition. The commission will not be disbanded, it will not disappear. It will keep working. After a nationwide discussion a group of lawyers will review each line and write down the document in legal language before putting it to the referendum. That's what the lawyers will do. And this group should consist not only of lawyers. This group should include specialists, including economists and executives,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.
According to the president, the referendum on the new Constitution of Belarus will take place no later than February 2022.