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Belarus is likely to increase age limit to 40 years for presidential hopefuls

Chairman of the Belarusian Constitutional Commission Pyotr Miklashevich noted that it was planned to enshrine in the Constitution that one person could serve as president for no more than two terms

MOSCOW, July 21. / TASS /. Belarus plans to raise the minimum age for presidential candidates to 40 years, Chairman of the Belarusian Constitutional Commission for drawing up proposals on amending the key law Pyotr Miklashevich announced on Wednesday.

"In the ‘President. Parliament. Government’ section, it was proposed to retain the presidential form of government. A higher age limit - 40 years old (now 35 years old) should be introduced for assuming the presidential post, and in terms of residency qualification, one should be a permanent resident of Belarus for at least 20 years right before the elections, in regard to citizenship qualification, one should not hold foreign state citizenship," the BelTA news agency quoted Miklashevich as saying after the ninth meeting of the Constitutional Commission.

Furthermore, it is planned to enshrine in the Constitution that one person can serve as president for no more than two terms. Also, a new post of the human rights commissioner is likely to be established. "<...> Thus, a new human rights institution is going to be introduced in order to further guarantee the protection of human rights and freedoms for effective communication between citizens and the authorities in this field," Miklashevich noted.

On March 16, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko signed a decree to set up a 36-member Constitutional Commission, which was going to hammer out new amendments to the basic law. The Commission is due to present its groundwork to the head of state by August 1.

Last week, the final proposals of the Constitutional Commission on the draft key law were published. According to the document, the president will be elected for five years directly by Belarusians on the basis of universal, free and equal suffrage with voting by secret ballot.

Moreover, the document proposes to remove from the Constitution the president's right to abolish government acts and issue decrees. Also, the proposal enables the All-Belarusian People's Assembly to remove the president from office in case of high treason or other grave crimes. In case of necessity, the assembly can decide on the presidential elections’ legitimacy, while it also determines the country’s development strategy, so its decisions are binding.

At the next stage, competent state bodies led by the president will continue working on the proposed constitutional amendments, which are expected to be put up for the republic’s referendum by early 2022.