Extended session of Constitutional Commission
Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko took part in the extended session of the Constitutional Commission on 28 September.
Aleksandr Lukashenko had announced plans to meet with members of the Constitutional Commission at the session with top officials of the Council of Ministers a week ago. “I want to meet with the commission after they have finished internal discussions. Then I think we will set up a small specific group that will professionally polish the draft Constitution upon our instructions. This is why it is necessary to discuss the draft and how we are going to proceed in this regard later on,” he noted.
The President had given instructions to seriously prepare for the event and particularly focus on the transfer of presidential powers. “It is not like we don’t know… We’ve attached some powers to some body (the Belarusian People’s Congress and so on) and now we don’t know how to proceed, we will go to the President. Listen. Feel free to come to me but only with proposals,” the Belarusian leader stated.
“Several months of hard work, heated debate and arguments are now over. A huge number of people, including public associations, responded to our call to take part in the development of the new version of the fundamental law. You had to study in detail all proposals and initiatives, analyze international practices of state building, examine modern trends in constitutional legislation. This is definitely a huge piece of work,” the head of state said.
Aleksandr Lukashenko thanked all members of the commission for their responsible approach, dedication, sincerity and enthusiasm. “I closely followed the process, listened to your speeches in the media. In other words, I was involved in what was happening. We can say that we have come up with a new version of the draft Constitution,” the Belarusian leader said.
The President pointed to the comprehensive nature of the proposed amendments as they cover almost all sections of the Constitution. According to him, the amendments are aimed at bringing the country’s fundamental law up to date.
The head of state highlighted the provisions that he particularly liked in the draft Constitution.
Aleksandr Lukashenko welcomed the proposal to spell out the values of the Belarusian society in the Constitution, including the preservation of the historical truth and memory of heroism of Belarusian people in the Great Patriotic War.
“In my opinion, this is absolutely right. It is patriotism and historical memory that make us truly one nation, a single nation. It will not hurt to formalize it in the Constitution, it will not run afoul of the norms and principles of law,” the President emphasized.
“I think it is right to retain inviolable constitutional principles aimed at ensuring the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Belarus,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said. “They have helped us become a nation, a sovereign state that our people had dreamed about for centuries,” he added.
The President highlighted the proposal to stick to the current social policy and even noticeably enhance social security coverage. “I agree with this. This chimes in with the government policy supported by the majority of the country's population. Yet, we should not end up granting allowances and benefits for everything and everyone. This should never happen. Social security is not about granting more benefits,” the President said.
Aleksandr Lukashenko believes that the new Constitution should create a more enabling environment for self-fulfillment. “Our people (most of them but not all) rely on the government too much and believe that the government should do everything - from repairing fences to building housing,” the President said. He believes that the situation should gradually change in the future.
“I am convinced that Belarusians will welcome the Commission’s proposals on formalizing guarantees of retirement benefits, support for families with children, the value of family and marriage, equal opportunities for persons with disabilities,” the Belarusian leader said.
According to the head of state, one of the most important proposals of the Constitutional Commission deals with the political system and is aimed at making it more balanced by redistributing powers of the President, parliament and government, introducing the constitutional status of the Belarusian People’s Congress and the Central Election Commission.
“It was also proposed to expand guarantees of judicial protection of citizens’ rights. Almost everything that we had talked about long before the Constitutional Commission started working has been addressed,” the Belarusian leader said.