MINSK, 18 October (BelTA) – There will be a large-scale public discussion of constitutional amendments, Chair of the Council of the Republic of the National Assembly Natalya Kochanova told the ONT TV channel on 17 October, BelTA has learned.
“There is no doubt that the amendments will be discussed. Before putting the updated Constitution to a referendum, it will be discussed by the public, and this discussion will be held on a large scale. We understand that we should communicate the amendments to the public. Members of the Council of the Republic who make part of the Constitutional Commission will work hard to explain the essence of the amendments to the public,” Natalya Kochanova said.
She noted that the Constitutional Commission had drafted and submitted a new version of the Constitution to Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko. The proposed amendments were discussed on 28 September at an expanded meeting of the Constitutional Commission with the participation of the head of state. “Yet, this is not a final version, the work on the fundamental law is still underway. Moreover, when we travel to the regions, people that we meet also share their ideas with us,” she added.
In this regard, Natalya Kochanova recalled a recent meeting with students of Polotsk State University. They discussed the proposals of the Constitutional Commission, and proposals put forward at dialogue platforms, public receptions, and by the clergy.
Speaking about the legislative process in general, the chairperson of the Council of the Republic noted that, on the one hand, bills should be up-to-date. On the other hand, it is important to identify possible problems before they arise. “We need to see what issues are not yet regulated by the law,” she said.
Natalya Kochanova also discussed a number of issues of concern, including sanctions against Belarus. Amendments to the Criminal Code were drafted to introduce responsibility for calls for restrictive actions (sanctions) against the country. This is designed to thwart the attempts to undermine the political stability, civil peace and public security in Belarus, to protect national interests, the rights of individuals and business entities.
“It is outrageous when people, our former compatriots, call for sanctions being fully aware that these sanctions will negatively affect every person in our country. This is absolutely beyond comprehension. In my opinion, this is just insane. People who call for sanctions against their compatriots, their country should be held responsible,” Natalya Kochanova emphasized.