Meeting to discuss formation of Belarusian People’s Congress and amendments to electoral legislation

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  • 23:40

The formation of the Belarusian People’s Congress and amendments to the electoral legislation were top on the agenda of the meeting hosted by Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko on 20 October.

The event was attended by representatives of the legislative, judicial, executive branches of power, including the speakers of both houses of parliament, chairs of the Constitutional Court and the Supreme Court, executive committees of regions and the city of Minsk, as well as the prime minister, the heads of the Belarus President Administration, the Federation of Trade Unions of Belarus, the Central Election Commission, the National Center of Legislation and Legal Research, and the national public association Belaya Rus.

At the beginning of the meeting the President touched upon two other important issues that are extremely relevant for society now. One of them is harvesting. The head of state addressed the governors and once again demanded good pace and efficiency in order to complete agricultural works in time. The second matter concerned the moratorium on price rises that had recently been introduced. Aleksandr Lukashenko once again clarified his position on this issue, emphasizing that it is not about a total freeze of prices for all goods and services, but about establishing an effective system of control over pricing in order to prevent the unreasonable rise in prices that someone uses to line their pockets.

The head of state recalled that a referendum was held in February this year to determine the further development path of Belarus. “We should view the outcomes of the referendum as fundamental, strategic guidelines for our work. In order to address these tasks we need to build an appropriate legal framework,” the President said.

First of all, according to him, it is necessary to determine the procedure for the formation and operation of a new body of power - the Belarusian People’s Congress, to amend the electoral legislation. The relevant bills have already been prepared. “However, as I have been informed, certain provisions of these bills have caused a heated debate. We will discuss a number of fundamentally new concepts today,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

As far as the bill on the Belarusian People’s Congress is concerned, it must be adopted no later than March 2023. “As you can see, there is practically no time for a slow start,” the President noted.

“The Belarusian People’s Congress should bring together delegates from all regions and walks of life, representatives of the authorities and our society. Together, with cumulative effort we can overcome any obstacles, find a way out of the most difficult situation. The Belarusian People’s Congress is something the people and the authorities should be able to lean on. It is important that people directly make decisions that will become guidelines for the authorities. In other words, it will be easier for us to move forward if this group of people (1,200 or so) who work on the ground, in manufacturing and agriculture, who go to stores, will decide in which direction to go,” the President said.

At the same time, Aleksandr Lukashenko emphasized that, unlike MPs, delegates of the Belarusian People’s Congress work on a voluntary ad-hoc basis, it is not like a job. “Therefore, there is no need to rant that we are going to spend a lot of money on the Belarusian People’s Congress,” the Belarusian leader noted.

The head of state believes that the Belarusian People’s Congress should have not only the powers defined by the Constitution, but also other powers, and the fundamental law allows this. “Yet, this does not mean that the powers of the Belarusian People’s Congress will overlap with some powers of the President, parliament, the judiciary, or even worse, will interfere with their work. This should not happen. The Belarusian People’s Congress should operate within its scope of reference dealing with matters that do not fall within the competence of other authorities. The Belarusian People’s Congress will be at the top and will act like a people’s council where people discuss things, make decisions, issue recommendations, voice criticism and then go home. Everyone else should be busy with their own stuff, as it is today,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

He also emphasized the need to ensure uninterrupted functioning of the Belarusian People’s Congress without creating a cumbersome administrative apparatus. “This will not happen in any case, I guarantee this,” the head of state added.

According to him, the law on the Belarusian People’s Congress should spell out competences, the formation mechanism, the composition and selection criteria of delegates. The procedure for electing delegates will be detailed in the Electoral Code.