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Lukashenko Unveils ‘Beautiful Democratic’ Plan for Redistribution of Political Power in Belarus

© Sputnik / Viktor Tolochko / Go to the mediabankBelarus President Alexander Lukashenko
Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko - Sputnik International
The Belarusian president has expressed approval for major reforms to the country’s political system, including changes to the constitution in the wake of the 9 August election, which saw him re-elected for a sixth consecutive term in office, but was also accompanied by large-scale street protests.

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has expressed his approval for the redistribution of powers among various branches of government, and promised that the process would take place in a transparent and democratic manner.

“Everyone is saying that a redistribution of power is necessary. I have always added: We will redistribute powers, and give additional powers to those who lack them. But those with additional powers will also receive additional responsibility,” Lukashenko said, speaking to his cabinet on Monday.

According to the head of state, the scheme could work as follows: “The government submits a measure for consideration; the parliament approves it, if it is a law, the head of state signs or rejects it if any of the principles established by the All-Belarusian People’s Assembly are violated. The main principles for the functioning of our state for the next five years will be established by this congress of the people.

“This is an absolutely transparent, beautiful and democratic arrangement,” Lukashenko emphasised.

The All-Belarusian People’s Assembly is a congress of members of the Belarusian government, other top officials, industry leaders, union heads, scientists, people from the cultural sector, and others. Meeting every five years, the Assembly assesses and approves the main directions and parameters of the state’s development for the next five-year period. The body held its last meeting in 2016, with its next meeting scheduled for 2021.

Redistribution of powers from the presidency to other branches of the government is one of several arrangements to have been announced by the Belarusian government since the 9 August elections. In late November, Lukashenko said that he would not stay on as president once amendments to the country’s constitution are approved.

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Lukashenko, 66, has been Belarus’s president since 1994, leading the country out of economic calamity caused by the collapse of the Soviet Union and managing to save many of the country’s major industrial enterprises and its agricultural sector while gradually transitioning it to a social market economy. Belarus’s opposition has regularly accused him of election rigging, a charge he has vociferously denied. In August, after winning a sixth consecutive term in office, united opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya accused Lukashenko of stealing the election from her, and fled to Lithuania, from where she has broadcast demands that he step down and hand power over to the opposition.

Lukashenko has dismissed Tikhanovskaya’s allegations, and accused the opposition of receiving financial and political backing from western powers interested in turning the country into a colony.

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