Comparison of some paragraphs from the Constitution of Republic of Belarus (1994) and the Constitution draft by A. Lukasenka.

N.B. It is noteworthy that the English translation of the Presidents draft differs in some points from the Russian original as published in the Belarusan press!!!

Constitution of Republic of Belarus (1994) (full text) Constitution draft by A. Lukasenka (1996)(full text)
Electoral System
Referendum (plebiscite)
The President
Parliament
The court
The Procurator's Office
The Supervisory Authority of the Republic of Belarus
The Application of the Constitution of the Republic of Belarus and the Procedure for Amending the Constitution.

Electoral System

Article 71 [Expenditure]

Expenditure incurred in the preparation and conduct of elections shall be covered by the State within the limits of the funds assigned for that purpose.

Article 71.

Expenditure incurred in the preparation and conduct of elections shall be covered by the State within the limits of the funds assigned for that purpose. In instances determined by the law, the expenditure for the preparation and conduct of elections may be carried out at the expense of public associations, enterprises, offices, organizations and citizens.

Article 72 [Procedure]

(1) Elections shall be conducted by electoral commissions.
(2) The procedure governing the conduct of elections shall be determined by the laws.
(3) No elections shall be held during a state of emergency or martial law.

Article 72.

Elections shall be conducted by electoral commissions, unless otherwise specified in the Constitution. The procedure governing the conduct of elections shall be determined by the laws of the Republic of Belarus. No elections shall be held during a state of emergency or martial law.

Referendum (plebiscite)

Article 74 [National Referenda]

(1) National referenda shall be called by the Supreme Council of the Republic of Belarus, on the recommendation of the President or no fewer than 450,000 citizens eligible to vote.
(2) The Supreme Council shall set the date of a national referendum within thirty days of the submission, for consideration in accordance with the law, of a recommendation by the President or no fewer than 450,000 citizens eligible to vote.
(3) The issue of holding a national referendum may also be considered by the Supreme Council on the initiative of no fewer than 70 deputies of the Supreme Council.

Article 74.

National referenda may be called on the initiative of the President of the Republic of Belarus, as well as on the initiative of the Senate and House of Representatives which is taken at their separate sittings, or on the initiative of no fewer than 450,000 citizens eligible to vote. The President shall consider the issue of holding a national referendum within 30 days of the submission. The decisions taken by the national referendum shall be signed by the President of the Republic of Belarus.

The President

Article 95 [Head of State, Head of Government]

The President of the Republic of Belarus shall be the Head of State and the Executive.

Article 79.

The President of the Republic of Belarus shall be the Head of State, the guarantor of the Constitution of the Republic of Belarus, the rights and liberties of man and citizen. The President of the Republic of Belarus shall personify the unity of the nation, the implementation of the main guidelines of the domestic and foreign policy, shall represent the State in the relations with other states and international organizations. The President shall provide the protection of the sovereignty of the Republic of Belarus, its national security and territorial integrity, shall ensure its political and economic stability, continuity and interaction of bodies of state power, shall maintain the intermediation among the bodies of state power, and between state and society. The President of the Republic of Belarus shall enjoy immunity, and his honour and dignity shall be protected by the law.

Article 100 [Competences]

The President shall:

1)

Article 84.

The President of the Republic of Belarus shall:

l) call national referenda;

2)

2) call regular and extraordinary elections to the House of Rep resentatives, Senate, local representative bodies; convene the first regular and extraordinary sessions of both Houses of Parliament after the elections;

3) no equivalent

3) adopt resolutions on the dissolution of the Parliament to the order and instances determined by the Constitution;

4)

4) appoint 6 members of the Central Commission of the Republic of Belarus on Elections and National Referenda;

5) no equivalent

5) form, dissolve and reorganize the Administration of the President of the Republic of Belarus, other bodies of state administration, as well as consultative advisory councils attached to the Presidency;

7) introduce to the Supreme Council candidates for election for the post of chairman of the Constitutional Court, chairman of the Supreme Court, chairman of the Supreme Economic Court, chairman of the board of the National Bank;

7) appoint the Chairman and members of the Supreme Court,Chairman and members of the Board of the National Bank, Chairman of the Supervisory Authority with the consent of the Senate; 8) dismiss the Chairman of the Supreme Court, Chairman of the Board of the National Bank, Chairman of the Supervisory Authority to the order determined by law and to the notification of the Senate;

10) have the right to take part in the work of the Supreme Council and its bodies and make a speech or deliver a report to them at any time;

10) deliver messages to the parliament which are not open to discussion at the sittings of the House of Representatives and Senate; participate in the sessions of parliament and its bodies; deliver speeches and adresses to parliament at any requested time;

11) no equivalent

ll) chair the meetings of the Government of the Republic of Belarus;

12)

12) appoint the Chairman and 5 members of the Constitutional Court and other judges of the Republic of Belarus;

15)

l5) institute state holidays and red-letter days...;

Article 104 [Removal]

(1) The President may be removed from office where he violates the Constitution or commits a crime and relieved of office prematurely, where he is unable to discharge his duties on account of the state of his health, by a resolution of the Supreme Council adopted by a majority of no less two-thirds of the elected deputies of the Supreme Council.
(2) The issue of removing the President may be raised on the recommendation of no fewer than 70 deputies of the Supreme Council. Findings concerning a violation by the President of the Constitution shall be provided by the Constitutional Court, and on the commission of a crime, by an ad hoc commission of the Supreme Council. From the moment the Constitutional Court presents its findings concerning a violation of the Constitution, or an ad hoc commission presents its finding concerning the commission of a crime, the President may not discharge his duties until the Supreme Council pronounces a corresponding decision.
(3) Where the President is removed in connection with the commission of a crime, the case shall be examined on the merits of the charge by the Supreme Court.

Article 88.

The President of the Republic of Belarus may be prematurely removed from office where he is incapable to discharge his duties on account of the state of his health. The issue of removing the President shall be taken by a resolution of the House of Representatives adopted by a majority of no less than two-thirds of the elected deputies and a majority of no less than three-fourths of the full composition of the Senate on the basis of the findings of an adhoc Commission formed by the Senate and House of Representatives. The President shall be responsible for state treason and other grave crimes and may be removed from office. The decision to file a charge against the President shall be supported by no less than two-thirds of the whole House of Representatives on behalf of no less than one-third of the number. The investigation of the charge shall be exercised by the Senate. The President shall be deemed to be removed from office if the decision is adopted by no less than three-fourths of the full composition of the Senate, and no less than two-thirds of the full House of Representatives. The failure of the Senate and House of Representatives to take a decision to remove the President from office within a month since it was initiated shall make it inoperational. The move to remove the President from office may not be initiated in the course of the hearings in accordance with the provision of the Constitution on the premature suspension of the powers of Parliament. Where the President is removed in connection with the commision of a crime, the case shall be examined on the merits of the charge by the Supreme Court.

Article 105 [Vacancy]

(1) Whether the office of President falls vacant or he is unable to discharge his duties, his powers shall be transferred to the Chairman of the Supreme Council until the President-elect is sworn in.
(2) In that case, the duties of the Chairman of the Supreme Council shall be transferred to the First Vice-Chairman of the Supreme Council.

Article 89.

Whether the office of President falls vacant or the President is unable to discharge his duties, his powers shall be transferred to the Prime Minister of the Republic of Belarus until the President-elect is sworn in.

Parliament .

no equivalent Article 9O.

The Parliament - The National Assembly is a representative and legislative body of the Republic of Belarus. The Parliament shall consist of two chambers - the House of Representatives and the Senate.

- Article 91.

The House of Representatives shall consist of 110 deputies. The election of deputies to the House of Representatives shall be carried out in accordance with the law on the basis of universal, equal, free, direct electoral suffrage and by secret ballot. The Senate shall be a chamber of territorial representation. The Senate shall consist of 9 senators from every region (oblast) and the city of Minsk, 6 senators from every region (oblast) and the city of Minsk shall be elected at the meetings of deputies of local Councils of deputies of base level of every region (oblast) and the city of Minsk from their ranks. One-third of the composition of senators shall be appointed by the President of the Republic of Belarus. Persons who have previously held the position of President shall be senators for life unless they withdraw their membership.

Article 82 [First Session]

The first session of the Supreme Council shall be convened by the Central Commission on Elections and National Referenda no later than 30 days after the elections.

Article 93.

The term of the parliament shall be four years. The powers of the parliament may be extended by law ony in the event of a war. The first session of parliament after the elections shall be called by the President ...

no equivalent Article 94.

The powers of the House of Representatives may be terminated prematurely where no confidence is expressed or a non-confidence vote is expressed to the Government, or where the House fails twice to give its consent for the appointment of the Prime Minister. The decision to this issue shall be taken by the President after official consultations with the Chairs of the chambers. ...

Article 83 [Competences]

(1) The Supreme Council shall:
1) call national referenda;

Article 97.

The House of Representatives shall:

1)

2) adopt and amend the Constitution;
2) consider draft laws put forward by the President or submitted by no less than 150 thousand citizens of the Republic of Belarus, who are eligible to vote, to make amendments and alterations in the Constitution and give its interpretation; ...
3)call regular elections of deputies of the Supreme Council and local councils of deputies as well as presidential elections;

3) call elections for the Presidency;...

4)

form the Central Commission on Elections and National Referenda;

4)

7)

elect the Constitutional Court, the Supreme Court, the Supreme Economic Court, the Procurator-General, and the chairman and the council of the Supervisory Authority as well as the chairman and members of the board of the National Bank;

7)

9) determine the guidelines of the domestic and foreign policy;

9)

no equivalent Article 98.

The Senate shall: ...

3) elect 6 judges of the Constitutional Court;

4)elect 6 members of the Central Commission on elections and National Referenda...

Article 90 [Initiative, Public Initiative]

The right of legislative initiative in the Supreme Council shall belong to deputies, standing committees, the President, the Supreme Court, the Supreme Economic Court, the Procurator-General, the Supervisory Authority, the National Bank, and citizens who are eligible to vote, in a number of no less than 50.000.

Article 99.

The right of legislative initiative shall belong to the President, members of the House of Representatives, Senate, Government, as well as to citizens who are eligible to vote, in a number of no less than 50,000, and is implemented in the House of Representatives. Draft laws the adoption of which may reduce state resources, or increase expenditures may be introduced in the House of Representatives only with the consent of the President or to his assignment by the Government....
... To the request of the President or the Government, the House of Representatives and Senate shall take decisions at their sessions voting in general for the whole draft law or a part of it, which was forwarded by the President or Government preserving only those amendments which were forwarded or accepted by the President or Government. If in the course of the proceedings of the chambers some proposals or amendments are deemed contrary to the powers delegated to the President, the latter or to his assignment the Government may declare them unaceptable. In such instance the proposal or amendment shall be withdrawn.

no equivalent Article 100.

Any bill, unless otherwise specified by the Constitution, shall be initially considered in the House of Representatives and then in the Senate in order to adopt an identical text. A bill, unless otherwise specified in the Constitution, shall become a law after its approval by a majority of votes of the full composition of the House of Representatives and the Senate. Bills adopted by the House of Representatives shall be sent to the Senate for consideration within five days, where they shall be considered within no more than 30 days unless otherwise specified in the Constitution. A bill shall be deemed to have been approved by the Senate provided that a majority of votes of the full composition of the Senate has been cast for it, or if within 20 days, and in instances of urgency within 10 days since its submission, the Senate failed to consider it. ...
... The bill shall be deemed to have been adopted by the House of Representatives if no less than three-fifths of its full composition has voted for it, unless otherwise specified in the Constitution. A bill adopted by the House of Representatives and approved by the Senate, or in the instance determined by the present article adopted by the House of Representatives shall be submitted to the President for signature within 10 days. If the President is in agreement with the bill, he shall sign it. If the President does not return the bill within two weeks since its submission, it shall be deemed to have been signed by the President. The bill shall not be deemed to have been signed if it failed to be returned to parliament due to the end of the session. If the President does not agree with the text of the bill, he shall return it together with his objections to the House of Representatives, which shall consider it with the President's objections within 30 days. If the bill has been adopted by the House of Representatives by no less than two-thirds of its full composition,it together with the President's objections and within 5 days shall be submitted to the Senate, which shall consider it for a second hearing within 20 days. The bill shall be deemed to have been approved if no less than two-thirds of the full composition of the Senate has voted for it. The bill, after the House of Representatives and the Senate have overrun the President's objections, shall be signed by the President within five days. The bill shall become a law even if it is not signed by the President within the assigned time. The President's objections to the provisions of the bill, which are returned for a second hearing, shall be considered to the same order. In this instance, prior to the appropriate decision of the House of Representatives and the Senate the bill shall become a law without the provisions which have been rejected by the President. The President's objections with regard to the alterations and addenda to the Constitution, its interpretation, the adoption of policy bills shall be considered and adopted through voting for a second time by not less than two-thirds of the full composition of both chambers.

no equivalent Article 101.

To the proposal of the President, the House of Representatives and the Senate may adopt a law supported by no less than three-fifths of the full composition of both chambers, delegating to him legislative powers to issue decrees which have the power of a law. The latter shall determine the subject of the issue and the term of the powers of the President to issue such decrees. ...
... In instances of necessity and urgency the President may personally initiate or to the proposal of the Government may issue temporary decrees which have the power of law. If such decrees are issued on the initiative of the Government, they shall be signed by the Prime-minister.Temporary decrees shall be submitted for further approval within five days of their adoption to the House of Representatives, and then to the Senate, the sittings of which are summoned by the President. These decrees shall be valid if they are not rejected by the chambers. The chambers may regulate through legislation issues which have emerged due to decrees, which have been abolished.

Article 93 [Indemnity, Immunity]

(1) A deputy of the Supreme Council may not be held legally liable for his activity in the Supreme Council which is carried out in accordance with the Constitution both during the period he exercises his powers and after the termination of such powers.
(2) A deputy of the Supreme Council may not be arraigned on criminal charges, arrested, or otherwise deprived of his personal liberty without consent of the Supreme Council, except where he is detained at the scene of a crime.
(3) Criminal proceedings against a deputy of the Supreme Council may be instituted by the Procurator-General with the consent of the Supreme Council, and in the period between sessions, with consent of the Presidium of the Supreme Council.

Article 102.

The deputies of the House of Representatives and senators shall enjoy immunity in the expression of their views and execution of their powers. This shall not refer to charges of slander and insult. During the period they exercise their powers the deputies and the senators may be arrested or deprived of personal liberty in other manner only with the prior consent of the appropriate chamber with the exception of instances of high treason, or some other grave crime, or violation of public order. A criminal case involving a deputy or Senator shall be tried by the Supreme Court.

The Constitutional Court

Article 126 [Composition, Term, Age Limit, Protection]

(1) The Constitutional Court shall be elected by the Supreme Council from among qualified specialists in the field of law and shall be comprised of 11 judges. The term of the members of the Constitutional Court shall be 11 years. The age limit for members of the Constitutional Court shall be 60.
(2) Persons elected to the Constitutional Court may not engage in business activities or perform any other paid work, apart from teaching and scientific research that does not involve holding a regular staff position.
(3) Persons elected to the Constitutional Court shall be entitled to tender their resignation at any.
(4) Direct or indirect pressure on the Constitutional Court or its members in connection with the monitoring of the Constitution shall be impermissible and liable to legal action.

Article 116.

Supervision of the constitutionality of enforceable enactments of the state shall be exercised by the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Belarus. The Constitutional Court of the Republic of Belarus shall be formed of 12 judges from among highly qualified specialists in the field of law. The Chairman and 5 judges of the Constitutional Court shall be appointed by the President of the Republic of Belarus and 6 judges by the Senate. The term of the members of the Constitutional Court shall be ll years.

Article 127 [Specific Competences]

(1) On the recommendation of the President, the Chairman of the Supreme Council, standing committees of the Supreme Council, no fewer than 70 deputies of the Supreme Council, the Supreme Court, the Supreme Economic Court, or the Procurator-General, the Constitutional Court shall produce a ruling on:
- the conformity of laws, international agreements, other obligations of the Republic of Belarus to the Constitution, and other instruments of international law ratified by the Republic of Belarus; and
- the conformity of the legal instruments of interstate formations of which the Republic of Belarus is part, edicts of the President, ordinances of the Cabinet of Ministers, and orders of the Supreme Court, the Supreme Economic Court, and the Procurator-General that are of a proscriptive nature to the Constitution, the laws and instruments of international law ratified by the Republic of Belarus.
(2) The Constitutional Court shall be entitled, at its discretion, to examine the question of whether the enforceable enactments of a state body or public association conform to the Constitution, the laws, and instruments of international law ratified by the Republic of Belarus.

The Constitutional Court on the recommendation of the President of the Republic of Belarus, the House of Representatives, the Senate, the Supreme Court of the Republic of Belarus, the Cabinet of Ministers shall produce a ruling on: - the conformity of laws, decrees and edicts of the President, international agreements and other obligations of the Republic of Belarus to the Constitution and other instruments of international law ratified by the Republic of Belarus; - the conformity of the legal instruments of interstate formations of which the Republic of Belarus is part, edicts of the President of the Republic of Belarus which are based on the law to the constitution,the laws and instruments of international law ratified by the Republic of Belarus; - the conformity of the ordinances of the Cabinet of Ministers and orders of the Supreme Court which are standard acts to the Constitution,laws, decrees and edicts of the President, as wellas to the laws and instruments of international law ratified by the Republic of Belarus; - the conformity of enforceable enactments of any other state body, public association to the Constitution laws and decrees as well as to the laws and instruments of international law ratified by the Republic of Belarus. Enforceable enactments or their particular provisions which are considered unconstitutional shall be deemed invalid to the order determined by the law. The competence, organization and procedure governing the activities of the Constitutional Court shall be determined by the law.

Article 128 [Voiding Enactments, Majority]

(1) Enforceable enactments, international agreements, and other obligations that are deemed by the Constitutional Court to be unconstitutional because they violate human rights and liberties shall be deemed as having no legal force as a whole or in a particular part thereof from the time the relevant enactment is adopted.
(2) Other enforceable enactments of state bodies and public associations, international treaty, or other obligations that are deemed by the Constitutional Court to be contrary to the Constitution, the laws or instruments of international law ratified by the Republic of Belarus shall be deemed invalid as a whole or in a particular part thereof from a time determined by the Constitutional Court.
(3) Prescriptive legal instruments of interstate formations of which the Republic of Belarus is part that are deemed by the Constitutional Court to be contrary to the Constitution, the laws, or instruments of international law shall be deemed null and void in the territory of the Republic of Belarus as a whole or in a particular part thereof from a time determined by the Constitutional Court.
(4) The Constitutional Court shall make rulings by a simple majority of votes of the full complement of judges.

Enforceable enactments or their particular provisions which are considered unconstitutional shall be deemed invalid to the order determined by the law. The competence, organization and procedure governing the activities of the Constitutional Court shall be determined by the law.

Article 129 [Finality of Judgement]

The findings of the Constitutional Court shall be final and not subject to appeal or protest.

no equivalent

Article 130 [Court Initiatives]

The Constitutional Court shall be entitled to submit proposals to the Supreme Council on the need for amendments and addenda to the Constitution and on the adoption and amendment of laws. Such proposals shall be subject to compulsory consideration by the Supreme Council.

no equivalent

Article 131 [Immunity of Judges]

(1) Persons elected to the Constitutional Court may not be arraigned on criminal charges, arrested or otherwise deprived of their personal liberty without the consent of the Supreme Council, except where they are detained at the scene of the crime.
(2) Criminal proceedings against members of the Constitutional Court may be instituted by the Procurator-General with the consent of the Supreme Council.

no equivalent

The Procurator's Office

Article 134 [Election, Appointment]

(1) The Procurator-General, elected by the Supreme Council, shall be the head of the uniform and centralized system of bodies of the Procurator's Office.
(2) Subordinate procurators shall be appointed by the Procurator-General.

Article 126.

The system of bodies of the Procurator's office shall be headed by the Procurator-General who shall be appointed by the President with the consent of the Senate ...

The Supervisory Authority of the Republic of Belarus

Article 137 [General Comptences]

The Supervisory Authority shall monitor the implementation of the national budget, the use of public property, and the implementation of the acts of the Supreme Council governing public property relationships and economic, financial, and tax relations.

Article 138 [Formation, Control]

The Supervisory Authority shall be formed by the Supreme Council, operate under its direction, and be accountable to it.

Article 139 [Chairman]

The Chairman of the Supervisory Authority shall be elected by the Supreme Council for a five-year term.

Article 129.

The Supervisory Authority shall monitor the implementation of the national budget, the use of public property and the implementation of the acts dof Parliament and the President governing public property relationships and economic, financial and tax relations.

Article 130.

The Supervisory Authority shall be formed by the President. The Chairman of the Supervisory Authority shall be appointed by the President with the consent of the Senate.

The Application of the Constitution of the Republic of Belarus and the Procedure for Amending the Constitution.

Article 147 [Initiative]

The issue of amending and supplementing the Constitution shall be considered by the Supreme Council on the initiative of no fewer than 150,000 citizens of the Republic of Belarus who are eligible to vote, no fewer than 40 deputies of the Supreme Council, the President, or the Constitutional Court.

Article 138.

The issue of amending and suplementing the Constitution shall be considered by the chambers of the parliament on the initiative of the President or of no fewer than 150,000 citizens of the Republic of Belarus who are eligible to vote.

Article 149 [Majority, Referendum]

(1) The Constitution, laws on amendments and addenda thereto, on the entry into force on the Constitution and the said laws and instruments on interpretation of the Constitution shall be deemed to have been adopted where no less that two-thirds of the elected deputies of the Supreme Council have voted in favor of them.
(2) The Constitution may be amended or supplemented via a referendum. A decision to amend or supplement the Constitution by means of a referendum shall be deemed adopted where a majority of citizens on the electoral roll have voted in favor of it.

Article l40.

The Constitution, laws on amendments and addenda thereto, on the entry into force of the Constitution and the said laws and instruments on the interpretation of the Constitution shall be deemed to have been adopted where no less than three-fourths of the elected deputies of both chambers of the parliament have voted in favour of them. The Constitution may be amended or supplemented via a referendum. A decision to amend or supplement the Constitution by means of a referendum shall be deemed adopted where a majority of citizens on the electoral roll have voted in favour of it.

Sections I, II, IV, VIII of the Constitution may not be reconsidered by the parliament if they have been adopted by means of a referendum.  

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