President of Belarus

Last updated
President of
the Republic of Belarus
Flag of the President of Belarus.svg
SBY dan Alexander Lukashenko 19-03-2013 (cropped).jpg
Incumbent
Alexander Lukashenko

since 20 July 1994
Residence Independence Palace, Minsk
Presidential Residence, Minsk
Appointer Popular vote
Term length Five years
renewable optional
Inaugural holder Alexander Lukashenko
20 July 1994
Formation Constitution 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

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.

Belarusian is an East Slavic language spoken by Belarusians. It is the official language of Belarus, along with Russian. It is additionally spoken in parts of Russia, Poland and Ukraine by Belarusian minorities in those countries.

Russian language East Slavic language

Russian is an East Slavic language, which is official in the Russian Federation, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, as well as being widely used throughout Eastern Europe, the Baltic states, the Caucasus and Central Asia. It was the de facto language of the Soviet Union until its dissolution on 25 December 1991. Although nearly three decades have passed since the breakup of the Soviet Union, Russian is used in official capacity or in public life in all the post-Soviet nation-states, as well as in Israel and Mongolia.

A head of state is the public persona who officially represents the national unity and legitimacy of a sovereign state. Depending on the country's form of government and separation of powers, the head of state may be a ceremonial figurehead or concurrently the head of government. In a parliamentary system, such as India, the head of state usually has mostly ceremonial powers, with a separate head of government. However in some parliamentary systems, like South Africa, there is an executive president that is both head of state and head of government. Likewise, in some parliamentary systems the head of state is not the head of government, but still has significant powers, for example Morocco. In contrast, a semi-presidential system, such as France, has both heads of state and government as the de facto leaders of the nation. Meanwhile, in presidential systems such as the United States, the head of state is also the head of government.

Contents

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.

A term of office is the length of time a person serves in a particular elected office. In many jurisdictions there is a defined limit on how long terms of office may be before the officeholder must be subject to re-election. Some jurisdictions exercise term limits, setting a maximum number of terms an individual may hold in a particular office.

1996 Belarusian referendum

A seven-question referendum was held in Belarus on 24 November 1996. Four questions were put forward by President Alexander Lukashenko on changing the date of the country's independence day, amending the constitution, changing laws on the sale of land and the abolition of the death penalty. The Supreme Council put forward three questions on constitutional amendments by the Communist and Agrarian factions, local elections and the national finances.

2001 Belarusian presidential election

Presidential elections were held in Belarus on 9 September 2001. The election should have been held in 1999, but a revised constitution adopted in 1996 extended incumbent Alexander Lukashenko's term for another two years.

Historical background

Coat of arms of Belarus (official).svg
This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
Belarus
Flag of Belarus.svg Belarusportal

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.

Rada of the Belarusian Democratic Republic government in exile

Rada of the Belarusian Democratic Republic is the supreme governing body of the Belarusian People's Republic. Since 1919 the Rada BNR has been in exile where it has become the most influential political organization of the Belarusian diaspora and an advocacy group promoting support to Belarusian independence and democracy in Belarus among Western policymakers. As of 2019, the Rada BNR is the oldest existing government in exile.

Red Army Soviet army and air force from 1917–1946

The Workers' and Peasants' Red Army, frequently shortened to Red Army, was the army and the air force of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic and, after 1922, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. The army was established immediately after the 1917 October Revolution. The Bolsheviks raised an army to oppose the military confederations of their adversaries during the Russian Civil War. Beginning in February 1946, the Red Army, along with the Soviet Navy, embodied the main component of the Soviet Armed Forces; taking the official name of "Soviet Army", until its dissolution in December 1991. The former official name Red Army continued to be used as a nickname by both sides throughout the Cold War.

A government in exile is a political group which claims to be a country or semi-sovereign state's legitimate government, but is unable to exercise legal power and instead resides in another state or foreign country. Governments in exile usually plan to one day return to their native country and regain formal power. A government in exile differs from a rump state in the sense that a rump state controls at least part of its former territory. For example, during World War I, nearly all of Belgium was occupied by Germany, but Belgium and its allies held on to a small slice in the country's west. A government in exile, in contrast, has lost all its territory.

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]

Soviet Union 1922–1991 country in Europe and Asia

The Soviet Union, officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), was a federal sovereign state in northern Eurasia that existed from 1922 to 1991. Nominally a union of multiple national Soviet republics, its government and economy were highly centralized. The country was a one-party state, governed by the Communist Party with Moscow as its capital in its largest republic, the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic. Other major urban centers were Leningrad, Kiev, Minsk, Tashkent, Alma-Ata, and Novosibirsk. It spanned over 10,000 kilometers (6,200 mi) east to west across 11 time zones, and over 7,200 kilometers (4,500 mi) north to south. It had five climate zones: tundra, taiga, steppes, desert and mountains.

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]

Vyacheslav Frantsevich Kebich is a political figure from Belarus.

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]

Constitution of Belarus

The Constitution of the Republic of Belarus is the ultimate law of Belarus. Adopted in 1994, three years after the country declared its independence from the Soviet Union, this formal document establishes the framework of the Belarusian state and government and enumerates the rights and freedoms of its citizens. The Constitution was drafted by the Supreme Soviet of Belarus, the former legislative body of the country, and was improved upon by citizens and legal experts. The contents of the Constitution include the preamble, nine sections, and 146 articles.

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:

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 Presidential Residence Minsk Prasidentenpalast 1.JPG
The Presidential Residence

The Residence of the President (Belarusian : Рэзідэнцыя Прэзідэнта, Russian : Резиденция президента) is a Stalinist Empire style building located on October Square in Minsk surrounded by the streets of Marx, Engels, Kirov and Komsomol. Like the American White House, the streets close to the official residence are closed off to vehicular traffic and are patrolled by police forces. Having been used since 1994, it formerly housed the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Byelorussia. [11] [12]

Symbols

Presidential standard Flag of the President of Belarus.svg
Presidential standard

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. [13] [14]

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 officeLeft officeParty
1 SBY dan Alexander Lukashenko 19-03-2013 (cropped).jpg Alexander Lukashenko
(born 1954)
20 July 19949 September 2001 Independent/Non-partisan
9 September 200119 March 2006
19 March 200619 December 2010
19 December 201011 October 2015
11 October 2015Present

Latest election

CandidatePartyVotes%
Alexander Lukashenko Independent5,102,47884.14
Tatsiana Karatkevich People's Referendum271,4264.48
Sergei Gaidukevich Liberal Democratic Party 201,9453.33
Nikolai Ulakhovich Belarusian Patriotic Party 102,1311.68
Against all386,2256.37
Invalid/blank votes48,808
Total6,113,013100
Registered voters/turnout7,008,68287.22
Source: Belta

See also

Related Research Articles

Politics of Belarus

The politics of Belarus takes place in a framework of a presidential republic with a bicameral parliament. The President of Belarus is the head of state. Executive power is exercised by the government, at its top sits a prime minister, appointed by the President. Legislative power is de jure vested in the bicameral parliament, the National Assembly, however the president may enact decrees that are executed the same way as laws, for undisputed time. Belarus's declaration of independence on 27 July 1990, did not stem from long-held political aspirations but from reactions to domestic and foreign events. Ukraine's declaration of independence, in particular, led the leaders of then Belarusian SSR to realize that the Soviet Union was on the brink of dissolving, which it did.

Alexander Lukashenko President of Belarus since 20 July 1994

Alexander Grigoryevich Lukashenko 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.

My Belarusy national anthem composed by Niescier Sakałoŭski with lyrics by Mikhas Klimkovich, Uladzimir Karyzna

"My Biełarusy" is the unofficial title of the national anthem of Belarus and the first line of its lyrics. It is officially titled as the "State Anthem of the Republic of Belarus". It was originally written in the 1940s and adopted in 1955 for use in the Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic. The music of the Byelorussian SSR's regional anthem was composed by Niescier Sakałoŭski and the lyrics were written by Mikhas Klimkovich. After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the music composed by Sakałoŭski was kept and the lyrics were discarded. New lyrics, which were written by Klimkovich and Uladzimir Karyzny, were adopted by a presidential decree issued on 2 July 2002. The lyrics of the anthem now sing of a friendly Belarus, honoring past military battles and looking forward to the future. The music was kept due to the historical connections it has to Belarus.

Stanislav Shushkevich Belarusian politician and scientist

Stanislav Stanislavovich Shushkevich 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. He supported social democratic reforms and played a key role in the creation of the Commonwealth of Independent States.

Flag of Belarus flag

The national flag of Belarus is a red and green flag with a white and red ornament pattern placed at the staff (hoist) end. The current design was introduced in 2012 by the State Committee for Standardisation of the Republic of Belarus, and is adapted from a design approved in a referendum in May 1995. It is a modification of the 1951 flag used while the country was a republic of the Soviet Union. Changes made to the Soviet-era flag were the removal of symbols of communism and the reversal of the colours of the ornament pattern, from white-on-red to red-on-white. Since the 1995 referendum, several flags used by Belarusian government officials and agencies have been modelled on this national flag.

Elections in Belarus

Belarus elects on national level a head of state - the president - and a legislature. The president is elected for a five-year term by the people. The National Assembly has two chambers. The House of Representatives has 110 members elected in single-seat constituencies elected for a four-year term. The Council of the Republic has 64 members, 56 members indirectly elected and eight members appointed by the president.

Hero of Belarus is the highest title that can be bestowed on a citizen of Belarus. The title is awarded to those "who perform great deeds in the name of freedom, independence and prosperity of the Republic of Belarus". The deed can be for military performance, economic performance or great service to the State and society. The design of the medal is similar to that of its predecessor, Hero of the Soviet Union. Similar titles to the Hero of Belarus include the Hero of the Russian Federation, Hero of Ukraine, and Hero of Uzbekistan. Since its creation, the title has been awarded to eleven people.

Belarusian Republican Youth Union

The Belarusian Republican Youth Union is a youth organization in Belarus. Its goals are to promote patriotism and to instill moral values into the youth of Belarus, using activities such as camping, sporting events and visiting memorials. The organization was created after a merger of other youth groups in 2002 and is the successor of the Leninist Communist Youth League of the Byelorussian SSR. The BRSM is the largest youth group in Belarus and is supported by the Belarusian government. Some people have accused the group of using methods of coercion and empty promises in order to recruit new members and of being used as propaganda for the government of Alexander Lukashenko.

State Security Committee of the Republic of Belarus National intelligence agency of Belarus

The State Security Committee of the Republic of Belarus is the national intelligence agency of Belarus. Along with its counterparts in Transnistria and South Ossetia, it is one of the few intelligence agencies that kept the Russian name "KGB" after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, albeit it is lost in translation when written in Belarusian.

2006 Belarusian presidential election

The Belarusian presidential election of 2006 was held on 19 March. The result was a victory for incumbent President Alexander Lukashenko, who received 84.4% of the vote. However, Western observers deemed the elections rigged. The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) declared that the election "failed to meet OSCE commitments for democratic elections". In contrast, election observers from the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) described the vote as open and transparent.

National Assembly of Belarus

The National Assembly of the Republic of Belarus is the bicameral parliament that governs Belarus. The two chambers of the National Assembly are:

National symbols of Belarus

Upon the independence of Belarus from the Soviet Union, the country resurrected national symbols that were used before the Soviet era. These included a flag of red and white stripes and a coat of arms consisting of a charging knight on horseback. These national symbols were replaced by Soviet-era symbols in a disputed 1995 vote. Those two symbols, along with the national anthem, are the constitutionally defined national symbols of Belarus.

2010 Belarusian presidential election

Presidential elections were held in Belarus on 19 December 2010. The election was originally planned for the beginning of 2011. However, the final date was set during an extraordinary session of the National Assembly of Belarus on September 14, 2010.

Andrei Sannikov Belarusian politician and activist

Andréi Olégovich Sánnikov is a Belarusian politician and activist. In the early 1990s, he headed the Belarusian delegation on Nuclear and Conventional Weapons Armament Negotiations, also serving as the Belarusian diplomat to Switzerland. From 1995 to 1996, he served as Deputy Foreign Minister of Belarus, resigning as a form of political protest. He co-founded the civil action Charter 97, and was awarded the Bruno Kreisky Prize in 2005.

2015 Belarusian presidential election

Presidential elections were held in Belarus on 11 October 2015. Long-term president Alexander Lukashenko ran for his fifth term in office, having won every presidential election since independence in 1991. He was re-elected with 84% of the vote. The 'against all' option received more votes than any opposition candidate.

Security Council of Belarus

The Security Council of Belarus is an interdepartmental body with a mandate to ensure the security of the Republic of Belarus. It considers internal and external affairs of the state with regard to the interest of maintaining security and defense. The Council was established upon the adoption of Resolution +1249 on 15 November 1991. The current Secretary of the Council is Stanislav Zas.

Fifth inauguration of Alexander Lukashenko

The fifth inauguration of Alexander Lukashenko as the President of Belarus took place on November 6, 2015. The ceremony was held in the Independence Palace in Minsk for the first time. President Lukashenko was inaugurated in the presence of over 1,000 invited guests, who will include top government officials, members of both chambers of the parliament, all kinds of executives, and foreign guests. Presidential elections were held in Belarus on 11 October 2015. Incumbent president Alexander Lukashenko was re-elected for a fifth term in office, with 83.47% of the vote.

References

  1. https://themoscowtimes.com/news/lukashenko-earns-31242-3181
  2. 1 2 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. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 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. "Stalinist architecture of Minsk". www.comtourist.com. Retrieved 2019-06-03.
  13. Decree dated March 27, 1997, creating the presidential standard (in Russian). English summary of decree
  14. Указ Президента Республики Беларусь О штандарте (флаге) Президента Республики Беларусь