Belarus: President offers to debate changes in statute

President Lukashenko says a group of experts is working on amendments to the constitution, which will be debated publicly

Belarus: President offers to debate changes in statute
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said on Monday that constitutional amendments currently being drafted by experts will be shared with the public for an open debate.

A team of experts, including from the Belarusian Constitutional Court are drafting amendments in the country’s constitution.

“Once they end their work, the amendments will be brought to the public discussion,” Lukashenko said at a meeting with Chairman of the Supreme Court Valentin Sukalo.

The landlocked country in Eastern Europe, Belarus has been gripped by protests since the Aug. 9, election. The opposition charges that the elections were rigged.

Lukashenko, who has ruled Belarus since 1994, was declared elected in the presidential vote.

President added that there will be no return to the constitution of 1994, the amendments must be a movement forward.

He called on the protesters to take part in the discussion, instead of rallying on the streets. In a cryptic remark, he said while the opposition leaders demand changes, they do not specify what needs to be changed.

In a separate statement opposition leader, Svetlana Tikhanovskaya said she is ready to take the help of the international bodies to organize talks with the Belarusian authorities regarding the transfer of power to the opposition.

On Aug.4, before the presidential election, Lukashenko had announced that he intended to hold a referendum on constitutional amendments in the next five years.

He said that "the country has been changing over the years and its principal law [constitution] must also reflect the changes".