But not the fact that he decides to use it
Everything is going according to plan in Belarus, according to the plan of constitutional restructuring initiated by the head of state. It seemed that the well-known events in Kazakhstan would somewhat moderate Alexander Lukashenko's reformist ardor, but no: the plan remained in force. On January 20, the final version of the proposed amendments and additions to the main law of the country was published. At the same time, a presidential decree was issued that scheduled a referendum on constitutional amendments for February 27 this year.
The ballot will contain only one question: “Do you accept amendments and additions to the Constitution of the Republic of Belarus?” And the main intrigue now, respectively, is what answer will be given by the Belarusian people, who, according to both the old, current and new editions of the basic law, “the only source of state power and the bearer of sovereignty.” Joke.
In the outcome of the referendum, no one who is in their right mind and is even slightly aware of the peculiarities of the local national policy, of course, has no doubts. The father says: it is necessary! The people, well, in the sense of the CEC, answers: yes! The intrigue, of course, is different – all the same, which arose at the time of the announcement of the reform and was never dispelled: why did Alexander Grigoryevich need all this? National Assembly, to which a significant part of the powers of the existing power structures will pass. In essence, it will be the most important, supreme body of power, significantly “elevated” above all other institutions, including even the presidential institution.
“The All-Belarusian People's Assembly is the highest representative body of the people's power of the Republic of Belarus, which determines the strategic directions for the development of society and the state, ensures the inviolability of the constitutional order, the continuity of generations and civil harmony,” says Article 89.1 of the new edition of the Belarusian constitution, outlining the functions and powers of the Supreme People's Council.
The powers, for example, are as follows: the All-Belarusian People's Assembly “gives binding instructions to state bodies and officials.” Or here are a couple more notable mandates: “Makes a decision to remove the President from office in the event of a systematic or gross violation of the Constitution or the commission of high treason or other grave crime … Has the right to introduce a state of emergency or martial law on the territory of the Republic of Belarus if there are grounds provided for by the Constitution , and in case of inaction of the President on these issues”.
And Article 144 gives a clear indication of who will head the new powerful body: “A person holding the position of President on the date the amendments and additions to the Constitution come into force may simultaneously be the President and Chairman of the All-Belarusian People's Assembly.” Well, that is, of course, Lukashenka himself will be the head.
Of all the experts specializing in Belarusian issues, political scientist Andrei Suzdaltsev gives, perhaps, the most clear, contrasting, uncomplicated picture of what is happening. Another question, of course, is how this picture corresponds to reality.
“The transit of power in the Republic of Belarus is underway and it cannot be stopped,” the political scientist believes. “It is clear that the broad masses of the people of Belarus would like this transit to take place as early as August 2020, but then it was necessary to really engage in power, and not with balls and walk with hearts… Nevertheless, the protests did the main thing – they literally pushed the Belarusian authoritarian-oligarchic regime off its basic “platform” and Lukashenka began to drift towards the abyss… The constitutional referendum is the next stage of Lukashenka's departure from power. I have already chosen a successor.
And, in principle, the statements of Lukashenka himself confirm this version. Well, except for the reasons for the reform. Their initiator sees them, of course, in a completely different way.
“There are reference points, there are certain criteria,” Alexander Grigorievich said, speaking three days ago at a regular meeting on constitutional amendments. “We have clearly defined: the current generation … must go to sidings, give the new generation an opportunity to come to power. We should not conflict with him, we should, by observing, direct him where necessary.To do this, you need to have leverage… The current president is not eternal, new people will come.
Who will they be? Look, well, future presidents in our country are practically visible. It will not be like this president was elected in 1994. Then everyone was stunned, then they did not know what to do. We saw these nouveaux riches, corruption, banditry that was in the country … Well, they “stuck” into Lukashenka … Well, yes, they stumbled upon it quite by accident, they were elected. Now this will not happen. Now the people are cunning… People will elect consciously.
For this moment, we need this constitution. It is necessary that normal people come to management. And so that we don’t bite our elbows later, that we could fix something, but we don’t leave leverage … If civilized, then the VNS should play this role. “
It seems to be said quite clearly: yes, transit. By the way, Lukashenka's words – “future presidents are practically visible” – also confirm that he has decided on the choice of a successor. According to Suzdaltsev, the successor is Natalya Kochanova, “to whom the main part of the Belarusian nomenklatura, bankers, security officials have already begun to lean.”
To clarify: Kochanova now holds the post of chairman of the Council of the Republic, the upper house of the Belarusian parliament. Natalya Ivanovna became the speaker of the Belarusian Senate two years ago, at the end of 2019. And before that, she worked as the head of the presidential administration for three years. In a word, not a stranger to Lukashenka, not a random person.
But the decisive argument in favor of this version is the new version of the constitution. Today, the second person in the power hierarchy is the prime minister. It is he who becomes the head of the country if for some reason the president loses the reins of government. According to the corrected and supplemented text, the powers of the President are transferred in such cases to the Chairman of the Council of the Republic.
However, according to Suzdaltsev, Lukashenka's calculations, which largely reproduce the Kazakh transit formula, are fundamentally wrong and will lead to the same result: “Lukashenko believes that he controls everything. Naive, he is controlled. And then there will be a repeat of Kazakhstan and calls to the CSTO. The troops will appear and support, but only the second president of Belarus. Nobody needs Lukashenka.”
And this is where a serious logical flaw appears in the expert's version: no one could reproach Alexander Grigoryevich for something, but for naivety. So far, there is no sign that his instincts have betrayed him. From the same speech at the “constitutional” meeting, it is clear that he sees the risks very well: “It is very dangerous to allow dual power. /p>
Why, nevertheless, does Lukashenka take this risk? Well, firstly, Lukashenka is not going anywhere yet. And what's more, it doesn't go away. The possibility of transit is by no means solemn to transit itself. Nothing prevents Lukashenka – so far, at least, such obstacles are not visible – to sit out the current presidential term, while simultaneously holding the post of chairman of the Supreme People's Council. And then – to serve two more terms permitted by the amended and supplemented constitution. And then once again “fuck” the constitution – something familiar.
The exact answer to the question why Lukashenka needs amendments is known today only by Lukashenka himself. But in any case, they do not narrow, but expand its corridor of possibilities. Times are not very calm now, and such an option as a relatively safe “emergency exit” from the forefront of politics (Lukashenka's scheme, for all its similarity to Nazarbayev's, still looks more reliable), will not be superfluous in Lukashenka's political economy. It will come in handy on the farm.
Yes, not to forget: there is one more little “intrigue”. However, who knows, maybe not so small. The version of the constitutional draft, published before the New Year, before the “nationwide discussion”, read: “Changes to the Constitution come into force from the day of the official publication of such changes.”
Now it sounds like this: “Changes to the Constitution come into force through 10 days from the date of official publication of such changes, unless otherwise specified in this section.
Why does Lukashenka need an additional time gap? What will happen in these 10 days? Something that will shake Belarus/Europe/the world? Or will nothing happen? In general, we have to recall the old vulgar anecdote again: “Again this painful uncertainty.”