Legislative Power

Legislative Power

In 1990-1994, the former Belarusian Parliament, the Supreme Soviet, was the sole governor for Belarus: the deputies of the first Belarusian Parliament elected on a democratic basis (yet in the Soviet times) are still the key leaders of the Belarusian politics both within the power and opposition.

The first term of a newly elected President Lukashenka was accompanied by confrontation with the Supreme Council. That permanent political crisis lasted during 1994-1996 and ended with a constitutional crisis which resulted in constitutional reforming during the referendum.

Following the results of the plebiscite in 1996, a single-chamber Supreme Council was dismissed and the first House of Representatives was formed from the deputies loyal to the President which became the lower house in a new parliamentary system. 110 deputies out of 385 elected in 1995 reserved deputy seats.

The upper house, the Council of the Republic, consists of 64 members who are elected by local authorities (local Councils of Deputies and executive committees). Eight members of the Council of the Republic are appointed by the President.

And so instead of the Supreme Council, the National Assembly, a new bicameral parliament, was formed. Some countries did not recognize the powers of the National Assembly. The world community did not recognize the consequent elections to the House of Representatives and the Council of the Republic in 2000, 2004 and 2008 to be free and fair. The majority of the deputies of both houses are non-party deputies.

It is assumed that the Central Commission of the Republic of Belarus on Elections and Holding Republican Referenda and its enduring head Lidia Yarmoshina, personally appointed by President Lukashenko, are fully devoted to the present head of the state and will carry out any request (representatives of the opposition parties are admitted to the election committees at minimum quantity and comprise less than one percent).

There is no Parliamentarian institution for human rights commissioner (ombudsman) in Belarus, though some Belarusian officials have stated the need to introduce the position.

Yury Chaussov, political scientist

Author: Handbook on Belarus for International journalists