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"People's Constitution": Questions and Suggestions of Citizens for the Basic Law

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The Belarusians have actively joined the discussion around the draft Constitution of the New Belarus and share their proposals, remarks and questions. Together with the Public Constitutional Commission, we have collected a number of citizens' opinions and comments from the commission members.

State language, weapons of mass destruction, parliament formation, thaler as national currency and other topics.

We remind you that discussions of the draft Constitution of New Belarus will last until August 27. You can leave your suggestion or ask a question:

Citizens' responses, as well as decisions on them and justifications, are entered into this table on a weekly basis. The status "Under consideration" in it means that the proposal is still in the queue, "Accepted" - that it will be taken into account, "Not accepted" — that it had to be rejected. The "Explained" status is assigned to reviews without substantive proposals and questions.

State language, formation of parliament, weapons of mass destruction and thaler as national currency

Why does the draft Constitution of New Belarus indicate two state languages: Belarusian and Russian?*

Answer: The choice of this particular option was made on the basis of the results of voting on the Golos platform at the end of 2020, where 82.66% - more than 380 thousand people — of the respondents supported it. At the same time, the issue of state languages ​​is one of the most controversial. Now the Public Constitutional Commission (PCC) is considering two options: The Belarusian language as the only state language or two state languages, provided that it is possible to legislatively regulate the development of the language. Ideally, the topic of the state language should be raised in a separate issue at a referendum along with the draft Constitution.

Only a parliamentary republic, no more generalissimo! One person cannot decide the fate of an entire nation!

Commentary: A purely parliamentary republic has a nuance: we do not yet have experience in exercising power through parliament and the party system is not developed — there is a danger that the parliamentary majority of a party will arrange its own diktat. For balance, the position of the president is also envisaged, and it is rather "weak" in comparison with all previous editions. In fact, in the draft Constitution of New Belarus, the president corresponds to the role of the head of state in a parliamentary republic. The only difference from a purely parliamentary republic: direct election of the president by the people, not parliament.

Clause 4 of Article 69 "Composition and elections": "Some of the deputies are elected on a personal basis in majoritarian districts, and the other party is elected according to the lists of electoral associations." Maybe add some specifics: what are these parts?

Commentary: The wording has been clarified: "Elections of deputies of the Supreme Soviet are held according to a mixed system, in which 110 deputies are elected on a personal basis in majoritarian districts, the other 110 deputies are elected according to the lists of political parties or their electoral associations in proportion to the votes received."

Maybe we should adopt the system of forming the composition of the parliament as in Germany: half of the deputies — according to the majority mandates, and the rest get to the proportional composition? Otherwise, there is a chance to get a situation where a party with 35% support controls 70% of the seats.

Commentary: This model assumes a floating parliament (the number of deputies varies from election to election), and there is no convincing case for its significant advantage. The PCC working group believes that for the form of government proposed in the draft Constitution, the best option is a purely proportional electoral system. The mixed system is seen as a transitional system until political parties develop and gain sufficient confidence in Belarus. The mixed system will also allow for a more painless transition from a purely majority to a purely proportional system.

According to the draft, martial law can be introduced for a long time or an unlimited number of times, thereby postponing the elections for an indefinite period. The possible abuse of martial law must be limited.

Commentary: The introduction of martial law is regulated by law, where the grounds for the introduction of martial law must be indicated. At the level of the draft Constitution of New Belarus, it is envisaged that the president introduces martial law with a two-day introduction of the relevant issue for parliamentary approval. In fact, we have a triple test of validity: law — president — parliament.

The draft Constitution of New Belarus declares: "Belarus strives for the status of permanent neutrality. The territory of the state is free of nuclear weapons. " Maybe we should include non-nuclear weapons of mass destruction here as well?

Commentary: Offer accepted! New wording: "Belarus strives for the status of permanent neutrality. The territory of the state is free of weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons."

Let’s take and fix thaler as the main currency — this was the name of one of the first coins on the territory of Belarus, this is part of our cultural heritage.

Commentary: The draft Constitution of New Belarus does not mention the name of the national currency — this gives the parliament an opportunity to rename it at the level of law in the future. At the same time, you need to understand that renaming a monetary unit requires significant costs. Since the adoption of the new Constitution will launch a large number of public administration reforms, it is difficult to predict how soon free resources will appear for this.

We allowed ourselves to retell, and not literally quote citizens and the Public Constitutional Commission, while preserving the original meaning.

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