Aleksandr Lukashenko signs laws on civil society, political parties
On 14 February Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko signed laws on interaction between government agencies (organizations) and civil society, on the formation and activities of political parties and other public associations.
The law “On the fundamentals of civil society” defines special forms of interaction between government agencies (organizations) and subjects of civil society: the election of delegates to the Belarusian People’s Congress, the collection and development of proposals to be discussed by the Belarusian People’s Congress, participation in the implementation of its decisions.
The right to interact with government agencies in a special way will be granted to civil society entities registered in the appropriate manner, having offices in the regions and in the city of Minsk and at least 100,000 members of full age (for public associations), or uniting at least half of all trade unions registered in Belarus (for trade unions).
The law “On amending laws on the activities of political parties and other public associations” defines general key goals and objectives of political parties, which shall be enshrined in their charters, along with other goals and objectives specific to each party.
The terms of formation and operation of political parties will change: the minimum number of founders (members) shall be 5,000 people instead of 1,000; political parties shall have offices in all regions and in the city of Minsk, as well as in at least one third of the districts of each of the regions and not less than one third of the districts of Minsk.
In line with the law, the Justice Ministry shall re-register political parties within six months after the entry into force of the law. The work of political parties that have not passed re-registration and have not announced dissolution will be terminated by decision of the Supreme Court.
The law also toughens requirements for national and international public associations, detailing their rights and obligations. National associations shall have offices in all regions of Belarus and Minsk, international ones - not only abroad, but also in Belarus.
Associations registered before the entry into force of the law shall bring their constituent documents into line with its requirements within one year.