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Lukashenko promises open and honest constitutional referendum in Belarus

Belarusian president emphasized that the draft of the document would be made public for nationwide discussion

MINSK, August 9. /TASS/. The constitutional referendum in Belarus should be held openly, honestly and democratically as the country has nothing to hide, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said on Monday.

"We have nothing to hide. We must hold the constitutional referendum openly and honestly to elaborate the constitution at a level of a presidential draft, which will be made public for nationwide discussion," he said at a meeting with journalists and the general public.

"He admitted that some changes to the document could be needed upon the discussion but before the referendum. "We will make these changes. We will do everything democratically, like it should be done in the West but is never done, as a matter of fact. As they want. We will do everything so that not a thing could be said against it," he said, adding that a decision about inviting international observers to the referendum, which is due not later than February 2022, will be taken later.

Commenting on the initiative to commit to paper a provision in the new constitution on the superiority of the national legislation over international laws, the Belarusian leader said that it should always be "weighed what the country can derive from it and what it can lose." "We have an example - the Russian Federation. So, I think it will be easier to stand up to the criticism and other problems together with an elder brother," he said, adding that he was leaning towards this initiative.

Amid the grass-root protests that engulfed the country following the August 9, 2020 presidential polls, Lukashenko once again said that the national constitution needed to be amended, with some of the presidential authority being shared with other branches of power. According to the Belarusian leader, a draft constitution will be ready by the year-end and will be put for nationwide discussion at the beginning of next year. On March 16, 2021, he signed a decree on setting up a Constitutional Commission of 36 members headed by Constitutional Court Chairman Pyotr Miklashevich.

The Commission meets twice a month. At one of the meetings, Miklashevich said that the presidential form of government would stay intact but did not rule out that some of the competencies would be shared with other branches of power.