Aleksandr Lukashenko visits the Council of the Republic

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The Council of the Republic takes a central place in the political system of the state. It acts as a sort of a political and legal filter, a collective panel of experts for the bills already passed by the lower chamber, President of Belarus Aleksandr Lukashenko said today at the first session of the Council of the Republic of the National Assembly of the fifth convocation.

According to the President, the upper chamber consists of governors, chairmen of oblast executive committees, heads and specialists of industrial and agricultural enterprises, heads of universities, scientists, doctors, successful businessmen, politicians, public activists.

The head of state said that women account for over 30% of the Council of the Republic. The President believes that this testifies to the fact that women play an important role in the political life of the country.

The President said it was symbolical that the new convocation of the Council of the Republic begins working in the new restored building that used to house the National Library.

“It is a unique specimen of architecture and represents historical and cultural value. The latest materials and technologies, primarily Belarusian ones, were used to reconstruct it. Using unconventional solutions, the designers have managed to radically change the internal layout of the building while preserving its architectural and artistic outlook,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

The head of state pointed out that the Council of the Republic is now perfectly equipped: “Modern computer and telecommunication systems have enabled good conditions for your work”.

The President said that the new premises of the Council of the Republic should be accessible by Belarusians and foreign guests. “It is a normal international practice to allow any person to go on a tour and see how the supreme legislative body of the country works,” said Aleksandr Lukashenko.

“The Council of the Republic takes a central place in the political system of our state. It is no secret that some of our ill-wishers call the council an allegedly redundant element or artificial superstructure in the Belarusian political system. However, life itself has shown that by acting together, both chambers have created an effective Parliament serving the people and guarding stability and peace in the society,” the President said.

“The Council of the Republic together with the President takes very important decisions in the most critical moments. You should remember about this. This says it all,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

According to the head of state, the Council of the Republic acts as a sort of a politico-legal filter, a collective panel of experts for the bills already passed by the lower chamber. “This is extremely important,” Aleksandr Lukashenko believes.

According to Aleksandr Lukashenko, currently the House of Representatives is preparing about 50 bills. "So you need to start working hard from the very first day,” the Belarusian leader said addressing the senators.

The head of state named efficient economy and social policy among the priority areas of the national lawmaking. The new parliament will continue the work on ratification of international agreements within the Customs Union and the Single Economic Space.

The President named direct communication with regions as another important mission of the Council of the Republic.

“You have been elected by members of local councils of deputies and therefore you should feel particularly strongly how oblasts, districts, agro-towns, towns, and villages live and grow,” the head of state told the senators. “I cannot but mention the key topic – local or territorial self-government. I think it is time for us to move forward”.

“The situation in the country has been stable and manageable for a long time. Our society is mature enough to continue developing, including the encouragement, support for local initiatives of citizens. In essence local self-government is the foundation of democracy,” Aleksandr Lukashenko believes.

“You are the people, who are responsible for the development of local self-government. You control its operation and should submit proposals for us to take certain steps towards the improvement of local self-government,” said the Belarusian leader.

Efforts of senators to develop international ties and inter-parliamentary contacts bear the same importance. “Vibrant and well-weighted inter-parliamentary contacts should boost the advancement of domestic goods, investment and strengthen the country’s image in the international arena. Work with those who respect our people, recognize our sovereignty and are ready to develop relations on the equal basis. Among them is brotherly Russia, great China, India, well-developed East-Asian states, rich Arab countries, Venezuela, Latin America and Africa,” the President said.

Aleksandr Lukashenko noted that the Council of the Republic together with regional councils might make a huge contribution to the establishment of direct contacts between the Belarusian oblasts and the Russian Federation.

“Your personal contacts with foreign colleagues will play a significant role in fruitful and successful parliamentary cooperation,” the Belarusian leader added.

“Interaction with the population is one of the most important areas of your work. Parliamentarians should talk to people directly, should listen to the opinion of citizens, should take into account their vital requirements,” the President emphasized. “The work of senators should be visible in the regions. Modern information technologies offer a multitude of opportunities for coverage. Along with state-run mass media it is necessary to better utilize Internet resources,” the head of state said.

Aleksandr Lukashenko also pointed out that the Council of the Republic plays a major role as far as human resources are concerned. “I wish the present governors to remember it as good support in their work. In addition to remembering that the governors have been vested with the supreme state legislative authority,” the President said.

“The most important thing is that everyone present here should feel the responsibility for the country and the wellbeing of the Belarusian nation,” the head of state added.

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