MINSK, 18 January (BelTA) - A referendum on the new Belarus Constitution is set to take place in February 2022, Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko said as he spoke at a session to review the outcomes of the public discussion of the new Belarus Constitution draft on 18 January, BelTA has learned.
Taking into account the proposals and comments that were made by the participants of the meeting today, the president instructed to finalize the draft and submit it for consideration in the near future. "If some things need to be fine-tuned, then this needs to be done because people will criticize us later. Please, take a close look but bear in mind that we need to hold the referendum on time," the Belarusian leader said.
“I think we should hold the referendum in February as we promised,” the Belarusian leader said.
“Let people express their opinions. No pressure. We express our position frankly. Whether they pass or not [whether or not the amendments to the Constitution are adopted in a referendum] depends on the people. The main thing is to convey the essence of the amendments and the reasons why they are needed to the people. I will touch on this in the Address [to the people and parliament] soon,” the Belarusian leader said.
Aleksandr Lukashenko recalled that when delivering the state of the nation address a few years ago he stated the need to draft the amendments to the Constitution. Later this idea was hijacked by the opponents of the government who demanded some "changes". "It was not they who initiated these changes," the head of state said as he pointed to the sequence of events. “We have long been approaching the issue of amending the Constitution. But the issue was not that pressing back then. And suddenly, our so-called opposition advocated for changes in 2020".
"They hijacked this idea from the president, who had been talking about the amendments to the Constitution for a long time, two years before," Aleksandr Lukashenko said. "The society, the state, the people - we build these changes on the Constitution, the Basic Law."
The head of state believes that these messages need to be conveyed to the society, so that people understand why constitutional changes are overdue, what they will lead to and, most importantly, that they have matured, not because the president desired them.