MINSK, 21 April (BelTA) – The term ‘civil society' should be enshrined in legislation and explained to people, Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko said as he met with Justice Minister Sergei Khomenko to receive his report on 21 April, BelTA has learned.
The head of the state said that the country was in for big work to build parties and bring order to public associations. “People need to be given a clear message about what civil society is and what it consists of, and this should be reflected in the law. The law should define it clearly,” the Belarusian leader stressed.
According to the Justice Ministry, the number of political parties and trade unions has not changed recently in Belarus. They are still 15 and 25 respectively. The number of public associations has decreased to 2,978, due to inventory work carried out by the justice authorities in collaboration with the law enforcement agencies. A total of 116 public associations have been liquidated in the country over the past six months. The Justice Ministry continues its work to improve legislation dealing with the activity of political parties and other public associations.
The need to develop and adopt a law on civil society was discussed during the work on the new version of the Constitution and the preparation for the referendum. Addressing the Belarusian people and the National Assembly in January 2022 and answering questions from those present at the meeting, Aleksandr Lukashenko pointed out the role of civil society in the formation of the Belarusian People's Congress: “If people support changes at the referendum, one of the first draft laws that will be developed and adopted will be the law on civil society. What is civil society? What does it consist of? It will consist of the people who have proved themselves to be the true pillars of this society.”
According to Aleksandr Lukashenko, these people include representatives of youth and veteran organizations, trade unions and the Union of Women. He also stressed that MPs and experts would discuss the criteria for choosing delegates to the Belarusian People's Congress from civil society. “This is an open question. We have parties. We will discuss it together. The same as we did discussing the draft Constitution,” the head of state stressed.