Status and Powers
The rights, responsibilities and status of the President of the Republic of Belarus are enshrined in the Constitution of the Republic of Belarus of 1994 that embraced the amendments and additions adopted in the national referendums, in the law on the President of the Republic of Belarus and other legislation.
- The President of the Republic of Belarus is the Head of State, the guarantor of the Constitution of the Republic of Belarus, the rights and freedoms of man and citizen.
- The President embodies the unity of people, guarantees the implementation of the domestic and foreign policy guidelines, represents the Republic of Belarus in relations with other states and international organizations. The President takes measures to protect the sovereignty of the Republic of Belarus, its national security and territorial integrity, ensures political and economic stability, continuity and interaction between state administration bodies, and mediates between state administration bodies.
- The President has immunity, his honor and dignity are protected by law.
Election of the President of the Republic of Belarus
A person, who is born a citizen of the Republic of Belarus, who is at least 40 years of age, and who has lived in Belarus for at least 20 years right before the election not having and never having had the citizenship of a foreign state or a residence permit or any other document of a foreign state giving the right to bonuses and other benefits, can run for the presidency.
- The president is elected for five years by the people of the Republic of Belarus on the basis of universal, free, equal, direct and secret ballot. One and the same person may not be elected President for more than two terms.
- A candidate shall collect at least 100,000 support signatures to be able to run for the presidency.
- The procedure of holding the presidential election is described in the Electoral Code of the Republic of Belarus.
Inauguration of the President of the Republic of Belarus
The President assumes office after taking the following Oath: “On assuming the office of the President of the Republic of Belarus, I solemnly swear to faithfully serve the people of the Republic of Belarus, to respect and protect the rights and freedoms of man and citizen, to observe and protect the Constitution of the Republic of Belarus, to fulfill strictly and conscientiously the lofty duties that have been bestowed upon me.”
The Oath shall be taken in a solemn ceremony in the presence of members of the Presidium of the Belarusian People’s Congress, members of the House of Representatives and members of the Council of the Republic, the judges of the Constitutional and Supreme Courts no later than two months from the day on which the President has been elected.
Powers of the President of the Republic of Belarus
The powers of the President of the Republic of Belarus are formalized in Article 84 of the Constitution of the Republic of Belarus.
- Domestic affairs: the Head of State delivers State of the Nation Addresses to update the public about key objectives of the domestic and foreign policy; declares national referendums; presents state awards and confers civil service ranks and titles.
- Foreign policy and international relations: the Head of State conducts talks and signs international agreements; appoints and recalls ambassadors and permanent representatives in foreign states and in international organizations; receives credentials and letters of recall of foreign diplomats.
Security and defense: the President is the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Belarus. He appoints members and oversees the Security Council of the Republic of Belarus, appoints and dismisses the State Secretary of the Security Council, appoints and dismisses the Supreme Command of the Armed Forces; imposes martial law in the territory of Belarus in the event of a military threat or attack, declares full or partial mobilization; declares the state of emergency in the Republic of Belarus or its certain areas in the event of a natural disaster, a catastrophe, attempts of a violent change of the constitutional order, attempts of a seizure or assumption of power, a violent coup, mass riots and other unrest coupled with violence or a threat of violence from a group of individuals or organizations, which imperils people’s lives and health, the territorial integrity and existence of the state.
Person’s legal status: the President makes decisions about granting and terminating the citizenship of the Republic of Belarus and about giving asylum; pardons convicts.
Relations with the legislature: the President calls the regular and snap elections to the House of Representatives, the Council of the Republic, and local representative bodies; dissolves the parliament in cases and under the procedure set forth in the Constitution; delivers the State of the Nation Address to the Parliament; has the right to participate in the work of the parliament and its bodies, address them with a speech or a statement in any time; appoints the President’s representatives to the parliament; signs laws; has the right to return a bill or its provisions with his comments to the House of Representatives under the procedure laid down in the Constitution.
Relations with the executive branch: the President appoints the prime minister with the prior consent from the House of Representatives; determines the structure of the government of the Republic of Belarus, appoints and dismisses deputy prime ministers, ministers and other members of the government, takes decisions on the resignation of the government or any of its members; has the right to chair meetings of the government of the Republic of Belarus; has the right to abolish acts of the government.
Relations with the judicial branch: the President appoints the Prosecutor General, the Chairperson of the State Control Committee, the Chairperson and members of the Board of the National Bank of the Republic of Belarus and relieves them from their posts with the prior consent of the Council of the Republic.
Besides, the President has other authorities with regards to the state personnel policy, ideology of the Belarusian state, law, social and economic policy, foreign policy. He regulates activities of state administration bodies and other organizations regarding the de-bureaucratization of the state apparatus, the work with people’s petitions, including petitions of self-employed businessmen and legal entities.
Instruments of the President of the Republic of Belarus
The President adopts decrees and executive orders which are legally binding nationwide on the basis of and in accordance with the Constitution.
Decrees and executive orders of the President must not contradict the laws.