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Bill on National Assembly of Belarus passes first reading

MINSK ( BelTA) – The bill to amend the law of the Republic of Belarus “On the National Assembly of the Republic of Belarus” passed the first reading at the final meeting of the eighth session of the House of Representatives of the National Assembly of the seventh convocation on 30 June, BelTA has learned.

The bill was drafted by the House of Representatives and the Council of the Republic of the National Assembly in accordance with paragraph 8 of the plan of measures to bring laws into line with the amendments and additions to the Constitution of the Republic of Belarus adopted at the national referendum.

"Three criteria were at the heart of our work on the bill," said Valentin Semenyako, chairman of the Standing Commission on State Construction, Local Self-Government and Regulations of the House of Representatives. “The first was the need to update the legislative framework in connection with the referendum on amendments and additions to the Constitution held on 27 February. The second criterion was the need to bring the laws on parliament in line with law enforcement practice. The last time this law was amended was in 2008. The fact that we have worked with it for 14 years suggests that it fulfilled its functions. Given the realities of today, there is a need to adjust certain points. The third criterion is that this law must be brought in line with other legislative acts, which have undergone changes in recent years.

“Among the suggested innovations are the norms which come from the laws. They concern the rules of forming the House of Representatives and the National Assembly, the order of their dissolution and election of new members,” Valentin Semenyako added.

“For example, in line with the Constitution, the term of office is changed from 4 to 5 years. Elections will be held on a single voting day. If the chambers are dissolved early, the next ones will be elected for a term until the new single voting day. In accordance with the new Constitution, we are introducing a norm that the President of the Republic of Belarus, who has terminated his powers in accordance with the end of the term or has resigned prematurely can become a member of the Council of the Republic upon his consent,” he said.

A number of innovations will pertain to the redistribution of powers between the President, the National Assembly, and the Belarusian People's Congress.

“For example, the Belarusian People's Congress will be authorized by the Constitution to adopt programs for the development of our state, the Military Doctrine, and the National Security Concept. These functions will be redirected to the Belarusian People's Congress from the Parliament,” Valentin Semenyako said.