MINSK, 21 October (BelTA) – Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko met with a working group that is drafting a new version of the Constitution of Belarus on 21 October, BelTA has learned.
At the start of the meeting, the head of state recalled the earlier decision to finalize the amendments to the Constitution at the expert group level. “Not long ago we agreed to hold a meeting of the Constitutional Commission after the working group, whose members are present here, finish - together with me, of course - writing the Constitution. Its final version will be submitted to the Constitutional Commission session and immediately to the referendum,” the president said. According to the head of state, the task of the working group is to carry on the work started by the Constitutional Commission.
Subsequently, qualified lawyers will help to polish the document. “Our task is to determine and propose to the Constitutional Commission and people the options of the future Constitution at least on the main points, which are very important for the management of the state and are discussed one way or another by our people,” the president stressed.
The working group comprises Head of the Belarus President Administration Igor Sergeyenko, Chairwoman of the Council of the Republic Natalya Kochanova and representatives of both chambers of the parliament, Deputy State Secretary of the Security Council Aleksandr Rakhmanov, Head of the Council of Ministers Office Konstantin Burak, Deputy Chairperson of the Constitutional Court Natalya Karpovich and judge Olga Sergeyeva, Chairman of the Federation of Trade Unions of Belarus Mikhail Orda, Presidential Aide Aleksandr Kosinets and Doctor of Pedagogical Sciences, Professor Aleksandr Radkov.
“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. Due to your status and experience in top positions, you understand better the meaning of the amendments to the Basic Law, their feasibility, prospects in terms of developing our statehood and protecting our national interests,” said the Belarusian leader.
Aleksandr Lukashenko emphasized that first of all the working group should focus on a number of unresolved issues of principle, which, according to him, are quite a few. “We have to discuss them in detail in a constructive manner and find the best solutions. If you see that some other provisions require improvement, please also offer your approaches,” he said.
“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,” said the Belarusian leader.
According to the president, special attention should be paid to the new body, the Belarusian People's Congress. “We need to determine its status and competences. We need to do it carefully so as not to disturb the stability of the state machine and not to allow a dual power,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.
The working group should work actively and swiftly from the very start. There is absolutely no time to waste, the head of state noted. "The result of the group's work will be the draft Basic Law, which, as I said, will be discussed by the Constitutional Commission and submitted for a public nationwide discussion. Then we will fine-tune it after the nationwide discussion and put up for a referendum," the President explained.
At the suggestion of the head of state, the work of the group will be led and overseen by the Presidential Administration. The head of the administration will promptly manage this process. "The Presidential Administration should be engaged in this work as was the case in the past."
The president said that he expects from the working group to show initiative and proactive position. “Let us agree that you will not come to me and ask me what to do,” the Belarusian leader said.
In his words, people in Belarus are used to the fact that the president is constantly involved in solving a variety of pressing issues. “They are used to see and hear the president every day. It is not just because we have accustomed people to it, but because our people are like that. And thank God for that! Our people are kind, decent, are used to being guided by specialists, very educated,” the head of state said.
“I am ready to listen and get involved in the work, but you need to make your proposals. You are experienced specialists, you know what can be submitted to the Belarusian People's Congress, what should be left within the powers of the president, and what should be within the government and local authorities,” the head of state stressed. He emphasized that the working group need to make correct and verified decisions because any wrong step can ruin the country.
“It is not for me to teach Aleksandr Mikhailovich [Radkov] or Mikhail Ivanovich Rusy, or even Mikhail Orda what the country should be like. We all made it with our own hands. Let us work out a version of the Constitutional Commission and then offer it to people of different ages, beliefs, professions, so that all of them agree that this is their Constitution,” the president said.
As BelTA has reported, Aleksandr Lukashenko took park in the extended session of the Constitutional Commission on 28 September. Summarizing the results of the discussion, he determined how and who would finalize the draft of the new Constitution before the referendum. He instructed to set up a working group, which is now working on this issue.
"I will meet with them often to answer some questions. And then, before submitting the draft for public discussion, we will meet in the same composition. The Constitutional Commission has not been dissolved. It continues to work,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said. “After the nationwide discussion, a group of lawyers will review the language of each line of the draft from the legal point of view before it goes to the referendum. This is the job of lawyers. Meanwhile, this group should comprise not only lawyers but also economists and executives.”
According to the president, the referendum on the new Constitution of Belarus would take place no later than February 2022.