7th Belarusian People’s Congress, Day 1

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The government is inseparable from the people in Belarus and the only way to high-ranking jobs lies through the ability and the desire to honestly work for the benefit of the country. Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko made the statement at a session of the 7th Belarusian People’s Congress.

Aleksandr Lukashenko said: “We are reinforcing the role and the status of power of people’s representatives. It is important to point out that, as a matter of principle, we don’t separate the government from the people.”

“The first President, executives of all levels come from ordinary families. In Belarus there is only one way to high-ranking jobs: through the ability and the desire to honestly work for the benefit of the country,” the head of state stressed.

“This hall has gathered representatives of all strata of society, all professions and statuses: leaders, people in uniform, farmers, enterprise workers, entrepreneurs, teachers, doctors, scientists and artists, athletes - true representatives of the people. I am confident that all of you are true patriots. This is a modern-day Slavic veche,” the President said. “Simply put, this is a people's meeting, which now stands above all branches of power and whose opinion should be taken into account by the head of state as well,” the President said.

Aleksandr Lukashenko emphasized that the delegates of the Belarusian People’s Congress included deputies of local councils, representatives of civil society and MPs.

“We have not abandoned the Soviet democratic traditions, supplementing them with modern ones which correspond to the spirit of our period, its history. This represents our strength. This is the strength that forms the nation, strengthens the national statehood,” the Belarusian leader emphasized.

“Whoever people in this chamber may be, wherever they may work, there is no distance between us. All of us have one status: participants of the Belarusian People’s Congress. Delegates and invitees. And I feel the greatest pride about this accomplishment of national democracy,” the head of state said.

He stressed that Belarusians are proud of the experience of strategic planning that they had accumulated: for nearly 30 years the Belarusian People’s Congress has been a factor shaping Belarus’ state system to a large degree.

“Frankly speaking, the first Belarusian People’s Congress saved our country,” the President stressed.

All the five-year-long social and economic development programs were realized only after they were approved by delegates of the congress. “Time has come to advance to new heights and we’ve done that,” the Belarusian leader said.

“Delegates are the voice of the people, their collective mind. You are not just a general assembly. You are the national conscience; you are the voice of the people. You have no right to make a mistake. You have the right only to loyalty and devotion to your country and our people. Your mission is to serve for the future of Belarus,” the Belarusian leader emphasized.

According to the head of state, with the acquisition of the constitutional status the role of the congress and the competence of the delegates has increased many times. Today the Belarusian People’s Congress approves all the main program documents that determine the economic development and security of the country – all the strategic issues.

“Of course, delegates should understand what these documents say and be able to explain everything to people. They need not just explain but to involve society in the political discourse. We cannot do it without it today. If we do not talk to our people about the global goals of the state development, others will do it for us,” Aleksandr Lukashenko emphasized. “It is the common understanding of the national strategy that should unite and make us stronger.”

Another important and new task of the Belarusian People's Congress is to address personnel issues. “Now you, delegates of the Belarusian People’s Congress, will elect judges of the Constitutional and Supreme Courts, members of the Central Election Commission,” the President said.

The Belarusian People’s Congress has the right to convene extraordinary meetings and decide whether to declare a state of emergency or martial law. “Let us hope there will be no such need, but the mission is more than responsible. Even recognizing the legitimacy of the elections is in your hands. I mean the validity of all the elections conducted in the country. All your decisions in the hierarchy of the country's legal acts will take the highest position and become generally binding. All citizens, all bodies and institutions of power will have to fulfill them,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

“What is more, the Belarusian People’s Congress has received exclusive powers to suspend the decisions of any agency or official. Thus, the congress will serve as a protective buffer against possible dangerous processes that go against the interests of society and the state,” the Belarusian leader emphasized.