Address to members of Belarus’ House of Representatives and Council of Republic of fifth and sixth convocations

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Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko met with the members of the House of Representatives of and the Council of the Republic of the National Assembly of Belarus of the fifth and sixth convocations in the Oval Hall of the Seat of Government on 7 October.

At the meeting the head of state said that Belarus needs to overcome the negative trends in economy and achieve sustainable development, Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko said when addressing the Belarusian Parliament on 7 October.

As he spoke about future activities of the MPs and the country as a whole, the head of state emphasized that they are facing challenging and responsible tasks. “The country needs to overcome the negative trends in economy and achieve fast-paced, sustainable development,” Aleksandr Lukashenko noted.

“All the conditions are in place for that. The main of them is the unity of the people and the political will of the country’s leadership to move forward, which was eloquently demonstrated by the past parliamentary elections,” the Belarusian leader said.

According to the head of state, the parliamentary elections were a serious test for Belarus because they took place in very complicated conditions. “The main reason is that we had to eradicate the prejudice in western countries that Belarus does not observe democratic norms during the nationwide voting. However, these democratic norms have not been specified yet,” the Belarusian leader noted. “Therefore, the entire election process was monitored by numerous foreign observers who had been invited from the West and from the East.”

The President stressed that Belarus invited even more observers than the West had expected. “We are glad to demonstrate the transparency of our electoral system and the legitimacy of government bodies to the world community,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

In his words, the Belarusian side welcomed constructive recommendations of foreign colleagues regarding the improvement of the election legislation. “We welcome everything that benefits us and does not contradict the interests of the Belarusian nation,” the head of state stressed.

“I am ready for any reforms, even the toughest ones, even tougher than the ones demanded by the IMF. The question is whether you are ready for them,” the President said.

According to the President, some people believe that structural reforms are needed to find a way out of the crisis. “I am addressing you, representatives of the people, to ask everyone if they are ready for reforms,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

He said that he raised the question as to what the understanding of structural reforms is, what the restructuring of the economy means. The head of state noted that many people cannot even give clear explanation.

The head of state underlined that the elections reaffirmed the growing role of the parliament in the preparation of the country’s development strategy and the parliament’s growing political base. Aleksandr Lukashenko said he believes that these facts are confirmed by the participation of political parties and public associations of various views in the election campaign as well as the fact that their representatives won parliamentary seats in a fair fight.

“Some people are eager to count how many opposition members exactly have made it into the new parliament — three, four, and so on. Let me emphasize that these are not my calculations. Any member of the parliament has his or her own views. Moreover, an MP is elected by voters, who are concerned about certain problems and would like these problems resolved,” noted the head of state. “Dividing the parliament is not my job. For me it is a united parliament. And every parliamentarian has equal power in accordance with the law.”

“We must stop thinking along the lines ‘either with us or against us’. In foreign policy, given our capabilities and resources, we must act very carefully so as not to make other countries angry, especially neighbors. We will benefit only from a balanced policy. Because we are in the midst of the events that are unfolding around us today,” the head of state said.

“To take up guns and go into the woods to become partisans is not the best thing to do. Thinking that the West is our friends and Russia is an enemy is stupid and short-sighted,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

The head of state said: “I have to admit that in the past we often talked about a multiple-vector policy but in reality we’ve been flying on one wing. Life demonstrated to us that in a crisis we face excessive risks of being dependent on political moods in the relevant countries. Our task is to secure a real positive balance in relations with all the neighbors as well as all the leading geopolitical centers of power.”

The President underlined that the task is extremely complicated. “We are not trying to sit on two chairs at once as some people claim. We are forced to pursue this policy to avoid offending anyone, to avoid damaging anyone’s interests, to stay strong and to avoid becoming someone else’s province once again. Do you think it is a wrong point of view? It is not my idea. It is an embodiment of hopes and desires of the entire Belarusian nation,” said Aleksandr Lukashenko.

“Don’t try to reproach us for the balancing act, don’t claim we are trying to sit on two or three chairs at once. It is not the case. We are doing everything in order to safeguard this country and this nation. It is what our policy is all about,” stressed the President.

Aleksandr Lukashenko remarked: “We are ready to cooperate with everyone for the sake of this goal. We survived when we were bent and faced sanctions. Later on the West lifted these sanctions.”

The head of state underlined that Belarus needs peace and security, friendship and cooperation between nations while the Belarusian nation is the most international one.

“I welcome the increasing role of the parties, but this must not be done artificially, through antagonism towards the authorities,” the Belarusian leader said.

In his words, there are representatives of the opposition in the new parliament. “Why did not the opposition win? Why are there so few representatives of the opposition in the parliament? (I will be honest: I would like to have them more just to end up this criticism). The answer is simple: the opposition is too far from the people. The one, who was closest to these interests, (who is a real oppositionist and not the enemy to anything which is being done in the country) made part of the parliament. What is more, our people do not longer believe those tales about luxurious “overseas” life.”

Aleksandr Lukashenko said that the victory of these oppositionists caused a real chaos in their parties. “I wonder if they are ready to take power at all. Do they know what to do with that power?” the head of state asked.

“Believe me, I know them. They do not know what to do. I, as the head of state, cannot give the power away to them. I will act delicately and carefully, in line with our Constitution,” the Belarusian leader stressed.

After the speech the head of state presented state awards. In recognition of a big contribution to the implementation of the social and economic policy of the country, achievements in the development of legislation and parliamentary government, state awards were conferred on the members of the Council of the Republic. The Order of Honor was bestowed upon Director General of ZAO Stolichnoye Televideniye Yuri Koziyatko. The Medal for Excellent Labor was conferred on First Deputy Director General - Deputy Director General for Economy and Finance of OAO Grodno Azot Tamara Poslednyaya. Director of the Palace of Culture in Molodechno Svetlana Soroko was honored with the Medal of Francysk Skaryna.

The Honored Lawyer of Belarus title was conferred on Chairman of the Permanent Commission for Legislation and State Development of the Council of the Republic Liliya Moroz.

The President gave the letters of commendation to a number of MPs.

In recognition of productive public and social activities, a big contribution to the development of legislation and parliamentary government, a number of MPs and workers of the Secretariat of the House of Representatives received state awards.

The Order of Honor was conferred on Chairman of the Permanent Commission for Ecology, Natural Management, and the Chernobyl Impact Sergei Konoplich.

A number of MPs were decorated with the Medalsfor Excellent Labor. These include Chairman of the Permanent Commission for International Affairs Vitaly Busko, Chairman of the Permanent Commission for Economic Policy Viktor Valyushitsky, Chairman of the Permanent Commission for State Development, Local Self-Government, and Regulation Gennady Gritskevich, Chairman of the Permanent Commission for Agrarian Policy Viktor Shchetko.

The Honored Worker of Agriculture of Belarus title was bestowed upon member of the Permanent Commission for State Development, Local Self-Government, and Regulation Alexander Popkov. Chairperson of the Permanent Commission for Legislation Lyudmila Mikhalkova received the Honored Lawyer of Belarus title.