President of Belarus

The President of the Republic of Belarus (Belarusian: Прэзідэнт Рэспублікі Беларусь, Russian: Президент Республики Беларусь) is the head of state of Belarus. The office was created in 1994 with the passing of the Constitution of Belarus by the Supreme Soviet. This replaced the office of Chairman of the Supreme Soviet as the head of state. The tasks of the president include executing foreign and domestic policy, defending the rights and general welfare of citizens and residents, and upholding the Constitution. The president is mandated by the Constitution to serve as a leader in the social affairs of the country and to act as its main representative abroad. The duties, responsibilities and other transitional clauses dealing with the presidency are listed in Chapter Three, Articles 79 through 89, of the Constitution.

The term for the president is five years, but due to a 1996 referendum, the election that was supposed to occur in 1999 was pushed back to 2001. Under the 1994 constitution, the president could only serve for two terms as president, but due to a change in the constitution, term limits were eliminated. During the course of the office, elections were held in 1994, 2001, 2006, 2010 and on 11 October 2015. Alexander Lukashenko has been the only person who has served as president since the elections in 1994. The Presidential office is located in the Republic Palace in Minsk, while the presidential residence is located in Zaslawye (Заслаўе), Minsk District.

President of
the Republic of Belarus
Flag of the President of Belarus
SBY dan Alexander Lukashenko 19-03-2013 (cropped)
Incumbent
Alexander Lukashenko

since 20 July 1994
ResidenceIndependence Palace, Minsk, Minsk
AppointerPopular vote
Term lengthFive years
renewable optional
Inaugural holderAlexander Lukashenko
20 July 1994
FormationConstitution of Belarus
Salary~25,000 annual[1]
Website(in Belarusian) http://www.president.gov.by/by
(in Russian) http://www.president.gov.by
(in English) http://www.president.gov.by/en

Historical background

Belarus first declared independence in early 1918 as the Belarusian Democratic Republic. Its head of state was the President of a provisional supreme governing body, the Rada of the Belarusian Democratic Republic. In 1919, the Soviet Red Army forced the Rada of the Belarusian Democratic Republic into exile where the Rada still exists, now led by President Ivonka Survilla. Under Soviet rule, the de facto leader of the Byelorussian SSR was the first secretary of the Communist Party of Byelorussia, the only legal party in Soviet Belarus.

The Republic of Belarus was formed in 1991 shortly after declaring itself independent of the Soviet Union. From independence until passage of the Constitution in 1994, the Chairman of the Supreme Soviet was the head of state and the Prime Minister as the head of government. When the office of the presidency was created, the role of the prime minister was reduced to assisting the president and resulted in the dissolution of the Supreme Soviet, along with its Chairman, in 1996.[2][3]

In the first set of elections for the office of president, the Prime Minister of Belarus, Vyacheslav Kebich, was defeated in a runoff vote by Alexander Lukashenko, resulting in Lukashenko becoming the first president.[2] In elections of 2001 and 2006, which were contested by international observers, Western powers and internal opposition parties due for failing to meet democratic and fair standards,[4] the incumbent Lukashenko defeated the other candidates within the first ballot. As of 2018, he is the only person to have served as President of Belarus.[5]

Constitutional status

Article 79 of the Constitution of Belarus gives the status of head of state to the President of the Republic of Belarus. He is also considered the guardian of the Constitution and the rights and freedoms of those who claim Belarusian citizenship or residency. The President is the personification of unification of the Belarusian state when conducting foreign or internal affairs and shall be the main representative when dealing with other nations or international organizations. The President is also entrusted with the safety, prosperity and stability of the country and acts as an intermediary between the bodies of the national government.[6]

Selection process

Eligibility

In order to be able to run for office, a candidate must be a Belarusian citizen by birth that is over thirty-five years old. The candidate must also reside within the Republic for ten years and he or she must be able to cast a ballot legally. The provisions are set down in Article 80 of the Constitution.[6]

Election

Elections for president occur every five years by a national vote. Candidates, as soon as they are deemed eligible under Article 80 of the Constitution, are tasked with collecting signatures from eligible voters. After 100,000 signatures are collected and certified, the candidate is declared to be official by the Central Elections Committee. In the voting, the secret ballots are collected directly from eligible voters. During the first round of voting, if a candidate earns fifty percent plus one of the votes, they are declared the President-elect. If no one has achieved that number during the first round, then a run-off election will occur between two candidates who won the most votes. The person who wins the most votes in the run-off is declared the President-elect.[6]

In the event the office is vacant, the election to replace the president must occur between thirty and seventy days after the vacancy occurred. During normal election cycles, the elections must occur before the last two months of the current president. In either situation, the government body that calls for elections is the House of Representatives.[6] The last round of presidential elections occurred in 2015.[7] President Lukashenko, when addressing the press in February 2007, stated his health will determine if he will run in 2011 or step down at that time.[8]

Powers and duties

Articles 84 and 85 states the official political, social and national defense duties that are rested with the president. Other than the enumerated powers, Number 30 allows the president to use other powers granted to him either from national law or from other sections of the Constitution.[6]

Part of the prerogative of the president is the right to call national referendums, and to call regular and extraordinary elections to the House of Representatives, the Council of the Republic and local representative bodies. He can also dissolve the chambers of the Parliament, as the Constitution permits. It is his duty to appoint the Prime minister of the Republic of Belarus with the consent of the House of Representatives, and to decide the structure of the Government of the Republic of Belarus. The President signs bills, and has the right to return it, fully or in parts, with objections to the House of Representatives. He also appoints– and can dismiss– the deputy Prime ministers, the ministers and the other members of the Government, and he decides in cases of resignation of the Government, or any of its members. With the consent of the Council of the Republic, the President appoints the Chairperson of the Supreme Court, and can dismiss this Chairperson and other judges. The president is supposed to deliver annual messages to the Parliament, and has the right to participate in the sessions of Parliament and its bodies. In instances of strike, the president has the right, in instances specified in the law, to defer or suspend a strike for a period not exceeding three months. In international affairs, it is the President's duty to conduct negotiations and sign international treaties, and to appoint and recall diplomatic representatives of the Republic.[6]

Not only the president is the head of government, he is the social leader of Belarus. The president delivers messages to the citizens several times a year and can issue decrees to establish red letter days and national holidays. The president is the main authority for the granting of Belarusian citizen and can present state decorations to honored individuals. The president also has the ability to determine the status of asylum seekers and grant pardons to convicted citizens.[6]

As the Supreme Commander-in-Chief of the Belarusian Armed Forces, the President has the duty to protect the Belarusian territory from internal and external forces. The president can call for a state of emergency in the following cases: natural disasters, a catastrophe, or unrest involving violence or the threat of violence. Regardless if the declaration affects the entire country or sections of it, the Council of the Republic must be notified by the President and must seek their approval within three days of notification. The same rules applies if the President issues a state of martial law in the event of a possible military action against Belarus. The President has to form and head the Security Council of the Republic of Belarus, and can appoint and dismiss the State Secretary of the Security Council and the Supreme Command of the Armed Forces.[6]

Oath of office

Before any person can assume the office officially, an oath must be sworn within two months of the election results being finalized. The text of the oath is as follows:

Assuming the office of President of the Republic of Belarus, I solemnly swear to faithfully serve the people of the Republic of Belarus, to respect and safeguard the rights and liberties of man and citizen, to abide by and protect the Constitution of the Republic of Belarus, and to discharge strictly and conscientiously the lofty duties that have been bestowed upon me.

During the inauguration ceremony, members of both houses of the National Assembly, government ministers, officials and judges from the Constitutional, Supreme and Economic Court must be present. Upon reading of the oath, any powers held by a previous president will be transferred to the president-elect. The text of the oath can be found in Article 83 of the Constitution.[6]

Removal

Articles 87 through 89 of the Constitution deal with how the presidency can change hands in-between election cycles. The President has the ability to resign from office at any time under Article 87. The letter of resignation is sent to the House of Representatives and is accepted by them. The President has the ability to be removed from office if his physical or mental health is impaired under Article 88. In order for this to happen, a two-thirds majority must be reached in the House of Representatives and the Council of the Republic on the resolution to remove the President. An ad hoc committee is formed and must make the determination about the state of health before any motion can begin. If the President has committed a grave crime, such as treason, one-third of the House must bring charges against the President formally. The investigation of the charges will be conducted by the Council of the Republic. In order to evict the President from office, a two-thirds majority is needed to vote in favor of conviction. The criminal case is further sent to the Supreme Court for review. The actions of either option must occur one month after the resolution is passed or the action will be considered void by the Constitution.[6]

Privileges

Under Article 79 of the Constitution, the president is immune from arrest, with exception to the treason/grave crimes clauses listed in Article 88 in the same document. Also under Article 79, the honor and dignity of the president will be protected by national law.[6] Information, either printed in the news or reported on television, that is considered defamation against the president is illegal under Article 5 of the Belarusian Law on Press.[9][10]

The president also has an official residence in Minsk surrounded by the streets of Marx, Engels, Kirov and Komsomol. Like the American White House, the streets close to the residence are closed off to vehicular traffic and are patrolled by police forces.[11]

Symbols

Officially, the only symbol denoting the presence of the President is the Flag of the President of Belarus (Штандар Прэзідэнта Рэспублікі Беларусь). The standard, which has been in use since March 27, 1997, was adopted by a decree called "Concerning the Standard of the President of Republic of Belarus." signed into law by President Lukashenko.

The standard's design is an exact copy of the national flag, with the addition of the Belarusian national emblem in gold. The standard's ratio of 5:6 differs from that of the national flag, making the standard almost square. The standard is bordered by a golden fringe. There are several copies of the standard; the original is kept in the office of the President while other copies are used on buildings, residences and vehicles to denote his presence.[12][13]

List of Presidents of Belarus (1994–present)

For leaders before independence and in the period 1991–1994, see List of national leaders of Belarus
# President
(Birth–Death)
Took office Left office Party
1 SBY dan Alexander Lukashenko 19-03-2013 (cropped) Alexander Lukashenko
(born 1954)
20 July 1994 17 November 2007 Independent/Non-partisan
(1) 17 November 2007 Present Belaya Rus

Latest election

Candidate Party Votes %
Alexander Lukashenko Independent 5,102,478 84.14
Tatsiana Karatkevich People's Referendum 271,426 4.48
Sergei Gaidukevich Liberal Democratic Party 201,945 3.33
Nikolai Ulakhovich Belarusian Patriotic Party 102,131 1.68
Against all 386,225 6.37
Invalid/blank votes 48,808
Total 6,113,013 100
Registered voters/turnout 7,008,682 87.22
Source: Belta

See also

References

  1. ^ https://themoscowtimes.com/news/lukashenko-earns-31242-3181
  2. ^ a b Country Studies Belarus - Prelude to Independence. Library of Congress. Retrieved July 12, 2007.
  3. ^ CNN "Belarus president convenes new parliament". Archived from the original on January 24, 2005. Retrieved 2007-06-07.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link). Published November 26, 1996. Retrieved June 7, 2007.
  4. ^ "Presidential Election, Republic of Belarus". Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe. 2006-03-20.
  5. ^ British Broadcasting Corporation News Timeline of Belarus. Published March 27, 2007. Retrieved July 12, 2007.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Webportal of the President of the Republic of Belarus Section 4 of the Constitution Archived 2007-12-17 at the Wayback Machine. Published 1994, amended in 1996. Retrieved June 7, 2007.
  7. ^ Belarus sets date of presidential election for 19 December 2010 Archived 6 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ MosNews. Rightist Group Promote Belarus Dictator Lukashenko as Russian Presidential Candidate. Published February 28, 2007. Retrieved July 11, 2007.
  9. ^ Global Campaign of Free Expression Comment on the Decision of the Supreme Economic Court of the Republic of Belarus: Case 1-9/2002 of 13 June 2002. Published August 2002. Retrieved July 12, 2007.
  10. ^ Law of the Republic of Belarus Legal Acts - On Press and Other Mass Media. Passed 1995, amended in 2006. Retrieved July 12, 2007.
  11. ^ Haaretz.com Two Steps Back. Published by Lior Kodner on February 10, 2007. Retrieved July 12, 2007.
  12. ^ Decree dated March 27, 1997, creating the presidential standard (in Russian). English summary of decree
  13. ^ Указ Президента Республики Беларусь О штандарте (флаге) Президента Республики Беларусь

External links

2011 Belarusian protests

The 2011 Belarusian protests were a series of peaceful protests by demonstrators in Belarus demanding the resignation of current Belarusian president Alexander Lukashenko, who had been the president of Belarus since 1994. Belarus is an authoritarian state, and in May 2011 presidential candidate Andrei Sannikov was sentenced to five years in prison for taking part in the Dec 2010 election. Lukashenko claims he won that election with almost 80% of the vote.

Alaksandar Dubko

Alaksandar Iosifovich Dubko (Belarusian: Аляксандар Іосіфавіч Дубко, Russian: Александр Иосифович Дубко; January 14, 1938 – February 4, 2001) was the former chairman of the Hrodna Regional Executive Committee. In 1994, he was a candidate for President of Belarus. He also served in the Belarus SSR Supreme Soviet and the USSR Supreme Soviet. He was awarded the titles of Hero of Socialist Labor and Hero of Belarus, however, the Hero of Belarus title was presented to him posthumously for valiant service to state and society.

Alaksandar Milinkievič

Alaksandar Uładzimieravič Milinkievič (Belarusian: Аляксандар Уладзімеравіч Мілінкевіч or Аляксандр Уладзіміравіч Мілінкевіч, Alaksandar Uładzimiravič Milinkievič (in Belarusian Łacinka), Russian: Александр Владимирович Милинкевич Aleksandr Vladimirovich Milinkievich, born 25 July 1947 in Grodno) is a Belarusian politician. He was nominated by the leading opposition parties in Belarus to run against incumbent Alexander Lukashenko in the 2006 presidential election.

Alexander Lukashenko

Alexander Grigoryevich Lukashenko (Belarusian: Алякса́ндар Рыго́равіч Лукашэ́нка, romanized: Alyaksandr Ryhoravich Lukashenka, IPA: [alʲaˈksand(a)r rɨˈɣɔravʲitʂ lukaˈʂɛnka]; Russian: Алекса́ндр Григо́рьевич Лукаше́нко, IPA: [ɐlʲɪˈksandr ɡrʲɪˈɡorʲjɪvʲɪtɕ ɫʊkɐˈʂɛnkə]; born 30 August 1954) is a Belarusian politician serving as President of Belarus since the office was created on 20 July 1994. Before launching his political career, Lukashenko worked as director of a collective farm (kolkhoz) and spent time with the Soviet Border Troops and the Soviet Army. He was the only deputy to vote against the independence of Belarus from the Soviet Union.

Lukashenko opposed Western-backed shock therapy during the post-Soviet transition. He has supported state ownership of key industries in Belarus. Lukashenko's government has also retained much of the country's Soviet-era symbolism, especially related to the victory in the Second World War. Western opponents of Lukashenko have described Belarus as 'Europe's last dictatorship'. Since 2006, Lukashenko and other Belarusian officials have also been the subject of on-and-off sanctions imposed by the European Union and the United States for human rights violations. He responds that his policies are the only alternative to instability and have spared Belarus from the poverty and oligarchy seen elsewhere in the former Soviet republics.

Since the dissolution of the Soviet Union, under Lukashenko's leadership Belarus has maintained government control over key industries and eschewed large-scale privatizations seen in other former Soviet republics.

Alyaksandr Kazulin

Alyaksandr Kazulin (Belarusian: Аляксандр Уладзіслававіч Казулін, Russian: Александр Владиславович Козулин, born 25 November 1955 in

Minsk) is the former leader of the Belarusian Social Democratic Party and one of the candidates who ran for the office of President of Belarus on 19 March 2006. He was a rector of the Belarusian State University from 1996 to 2003 and a government minister serving under Belarus President Lukashenko but later fell out of favor. He holds a PhD in mathematics and pedagogy.

Several weeks before the election, on 2 March 2006, Kazulin was beaten and detained by police after attempting to enter the All Belarusian People's Assembly. He was charged with disorderly conduct and released after being held in custody for eight hours.During the events following the 19 March 2006 presidential election, on 25 March, Kazulin was present in a confrontation between demonstrators and police. Reportedly he walked to the commanding officer with flowers in his hand, and police knocked him off his feet, beat him up, and then detained him. In a post-election interview Kazulin said, "We're not afraid of tanks and violence; we're afraid of prisons and having no freedom. We're tired of living in a spiritual prison."On 13 July 2006, Kazulin was sentenced to jail for five and a half years at a court in Minsk. He was convicted for his role in the March protests, the official charge being of hooliganism and incitement to mass disorder during the events of 25 March. Amnesty International recognized him as a prisoner of conscience.

On 26 February 2008, he was allowed to attend his wife's funeral, after threatening to starve himself if he was not released. On 16 August 2008, he was released from prison altogether.

Belarus Olympic Committee

The National Olympic Committee of the Republic of Belarus (Russian: Национальный олимпийский комитет Республики Беларусь, Belarusian: Нацыянальны алімпійскі камітэт Рэспублікі Беларусь) is one of many national Olympic committees that make up the International Olympic Committee. Created in 1991, the NOC RB (Belarusian: НОК РБ), is charged with selecting athletes to represent Belarus in the Summer and Winter Olympic Games, enforcing anti-doping laws and promote sporting activity inside Belarus. The current president of the NOC RB is Alexander Lukashenko, the current President of Belarus.

Committee for Standardization, Metrology and Certification of Belarus

The Committee for Standardization, Metrology and Certification of Belarus (also known as Gosstandart) is the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) member body for Belarus.

The head of Gosstandart is the chairman, who is appointed by the President of Belarus. Since 1992, the post of chairman has been held by Valery Kareshkou.

Gosstandart's head office is located at 93 Starovilensky Tract 220053, Minsk.

General Staff of the Armed Forces of Belarus

The General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Belarus is the central body of military management and operational control of the Armed Forces of Belarus. The Chief of the General Staff is appointed by the President of Belarus, who is the Supreme Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces. The current Chief of the General Staff is Major General Oleg Belokonev, who also serves as First Deputy Minister of Defence. The General Staff is part of the Ministry of Defense of Belarus.

Government of Belarus

The Government of the Republic of Belarus (Belarusian: Урад Рэспублікі Беларусь), which consists of the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Belarus (Belarusian: Савет Міністраў Рэспублікі Беларусь), is the executive branch of state power in Belarus, and it is appointed by the President of Belarus. The head of the Government is the President of Belarus, who manages the main agenda of the government and direct the ministers.

Mikola Statkevich

Mikola (Mikalai) Statkevich (Belarusian: Мікола Віктаравіч Статкевіч, Russian: Николай Викторович Статкевич, born 12 August 1956) is a Belarusian politician and presidential candidate at the 2010 election.

Myechyslaw Hryb

Myechyslaw Ivanavich Hryb (Belarusian: Мечыслаў Іванавіч Грыб, [mʲetʂɨˈsɫau̯ ɣrɨp], Russian: Мечислав Иванович Гриб, [mʲɪtɕɪˈsɫaf jɪˈvanəvʲɪtɕ ˈgrʲip] born on 25 September 1938) was the eleventh Chairman of the Supreme Soviet of Belarus from 28 January 1994 to 10 January 1996. In his capacity as the head of state, Hryb adopted the first Constitution of Belarus. He succeeded Stanislav Shushkevich and was head of state from 28 January to 20 July 1994 until Alexander Lukashenko replaced him in the new office called President of Belarus, which became the new head of state office. He continued as a parliamentary speaker. Hryb is now a politician in the opposition and a member of the Social-Democratic Party.

Obshchenatsional'noe Televidenie

Obshchenatsional'noe Televidenie (ONT, Russian: Общенациональное телевидение, All-National Television) is Belarus's second national television station. It was established on 15 February 2002 by decree of the President of Belarus. It replaced relays of Channel One and currently broadcasts most of the channel's content.

Sergei Gaidukevich

Sergei Gaidukevich (Belarusian: Сяргей Гайдукевіч, Russian: Сергей Гайдукевич; born 8 September 1954, Minsk, Belarus) was the Liberal Democratic Party candidate in the 2001, 2006, and 2015 elections for the office of President of Belarus. He was defeated in all attempts, since incumbent Alexander Lukashenko received overwhelming majority of votes each time. Gaidukevich has higher military education and served as an officer in the armed forces. Later he was a government functionary associated with various military issues.

Siamion Domash

Siamion Mikalayevich Domash (Belarusian: Сямён Мікалаевіч Домаш, Russian: Семён Никола́евич До́маш; 2 January 1950 – 9 February 2019) was a Belarusian politician. Chairman of Grodno Region in 19-1994. He was registered to run in the Belarusian presidential election, 2001, but exited from the campaign, endorsing Vladimir Goncharik.

Stanislav Shushkevich

Stanislav Stanislavovich Shushkevich (Belarusian: Станісла́ў Станісла́вавіч Шушке́віч, Łacinka: Stanisłaŭ Stanisłavavič Šuškievič; Russian: Станисла́в Станисла́вович Шушке́вич; born December 15, 1934 in Minsk) is a Belarusian politician and scientist. From August 25, 1991 to January 26, 1994, he was the first head of state of independent Belarus after it seceded from the Soviet Union, serving as Chairman of the Supreme Soviet (also called chairman of Parliament or president). He supported social democratic reforms and played a key role in the creation of the Commonwealth of Independent States.

As a scientist, he is a corresponding member of the Belarusian Academy of Sciences, Doctor in Physics and Mathematics, recipient of various state awards, professor and the author and originator of textbooks and over 150 articles and 50 inventions.

Supreme Soviet of Belarus

The Supreme Council of Belarus (1991–1996) was the immediate continuation of the Supreme Soviet of the Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic (BSSR Supreme Soviet) (1938–1991), which in its turn was the successor of the Central Executive Committee of Byelorussian SSR (1920–1938), and all of them were the highest organs of state power in Belarus during 1920–1990. During 1990–1996 it functioned as permanent parliament.

From 1938 to 1991, its chairman was the de jure head of state of the Byelorussian SSR. From 1991 to 1994, the chairman was both the de jure and de facto head of state of Belarus, and the post was considered equivalent to that of president.

Since 1994 the head of state has been the President of Belarus, with the executive power being the Council of Ministers of Belarus. Since 1996 the National Assembly of Belarus has been the parliament.

Uładzimir Hančaryk

Uładzimir Ivanavič Hančaryk (Belarusian: Уладзімір Іванавіч Ганчарык, Russian: Владимир Гончарик) (born 29 April 1940 in Lahojsk, Soviet Union), also sometimes referred to as Vladimir Goncharik (in Russian), is a Belarusian politician.

He was the candidate from united opposition forces that stood against Alexander Lukashenko in the 2001 elections for the office of President of Belarus. As he was the candidate from united opposition, he was supported by a fellow opposition candidate Siamion Domash, who withdrew his candidacy and urged his supporters to vote for Hančaryk. Hančaryk failed to become the president, when the electoral committee announced official results, according to which he lost the vote to Lukashenko by a 60 percent margin. The elections were considered fraudulent by independent observers.Before the elections, he was a chairman of the official Federation of Trade Unions of Belarus.

Vyacheslav Kebich

Vyacheslav Frantsevich Kebich (Belarusian: Вячаслаў Францавіч Кебіч [vʲatʂaˈslaw kˈʲɛbʲitʂ], Russian: Вячесла́в Фра́нцевич Ке́бич; born 10 June 1936 in a village near Wołożyn, Poland) is a political figure from Belarus.

Zianon Pazniak

Zianon Stanislavavich Pazniak (Belarusian: Зянон Станіслававіч Пазняк, born 24 April 1944) is a Belarusian nationalist politician, one of the founders of the Belarusian Popular Front and leader of the Conservative Christian Party – BPF. He has lived in emigration since 1996.

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