Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko announced on Thursday that the constitutional referendum would take place in the second half of February, after the draft law was last analyzed in late January or early February.
“This is the best time to hold the referendum. We will not distract people from work as it is still winter and there is less work in the cities and even in the big cities,” he told BelTA news agency.
The draft constitution will be presented in the next few days for “public debate”, in which the various changes to the Magna Carta could be discussed. As already mentioned, this will be the last meeting of the working group before the project is published.
“We still have two or three days to correct mistakes, prepare everything and present the text to the public,” he said, emphasizing the importance of “approaching the document, reading it together and analyzing its various points “.
If the constitutional amendment is adopted, the system of government in Belarus will see some changes. “If the people approve the reforms, we, the authorities, have to reorganize the country’s system of government so that it conforms to the new constitution,” he said.
“We have to build an effective system for public administration, business management and the passing of new laws,” said Lukashenko, who believes it is necessary to start a new campaign cycle after the passage.
The Constitutional Commission was set up in March 2021. Its main initiatives include limiting the President’s term of office to two consecutive ones and the deprivation of the right to issue decrees. For the President, the constitution passed 27 years ago is a “symbol of the new era”, of a “free, peaceful and stable” life for the Belarusian people.
However, last month the president assured that the new constitution would keep the president’s power “center stage” and insisted that the referendum will take place in early 2022 “unless war breaks out, God forbid”.
With this in mind, he defended that the draft of the new Magna Carta “strengthens the role of the government and parliament”, in addition to expanding the role of the People’s Assembly of Belarus, the highest representative body, which will debate the hottest topics and become the political agenda determine.
Lukashenko, who has been in power since 1994, was re-elected for a sixth term in a controversial August 2020 election, during which the opposition denounced the existence of fraud. Shortly afterwards he was ready to hand over part of his presidential powers to other organs of power and pointed out the need for a constitutional amendment.