Updated at 18:18,16-07-2018

Belarus authorities playing up idea of referendum on extending Lukashenkas presidency

Belsat.eu, following naviny.by

Belarus authorities playing up idea of referendum on extending Lukashenkas presidency
A referendum on extending the terms of office of the Belarusian president and Belarusian MPs may be held in the country if the head of state is willing to do so, Lidziya Yarmoshyna, Chairman of the Central Election Commission, told journalists on Monday.

As reported earlier, the Liberal Democratic Party of Belarus (LDPB) will be seeking to hold a referendum on amendments to the Constitution, including changing the presidential term from 5 to 7 years and extending the term of office of deputies from 4 to 5 years.

A package of three issues is to be considered, there is no use in isolation from one another. The first and most important one is a transition to the proportional-majoritarian electoral system, i.e. electing deputies from party lists, Aleh Haydukevich, deputy chairman of pro-Lukashenka LDPB, said on Friday.

As I do not make political decisions, I cannot view any personal opinion on the subject. The [LDPBs] offer is in no way contrary to international practice. In a certain way, such implementation could contribute to the stability of our society and cutting costs of elections, Yarmoshyna said.

Interestingly, as far back as October Belarusian leader Alyaksandr Lukashenka said that the time might have come to review the countrys Constitution.

We will try to approach the matter from various angles. We will do it accurately to avoid making things worse. New problems and challenges have emerged. And time may require something new. It is necessary to start with important things if we dare to do it. We should establish a group of wise people, lawyers to re-analyze the Constitution. If necessary, we will do it, he stressed.

It should be noted that in the 1996 referendum, the majority of voters approved of constitutional amendments put forward by Lukashenka, which dramatically increased the presidents power. Among other things, these amendments gave his decrees the force of law, gave him near-total control over the budget and extended his term to 2001. Moreover, the 2004 referendum resulted in empowering Lukashenka to run for and hold the presidency as many times as he sees fit.