Figure 10. Government Organization of Belarus, 1995
With the exception of the new office of the president,
government structure of independent Belarus had changed
from that of the Belorussian SSR
fig. 10). Within the
government, the communist-era mindset also persisted, even
the names of office-holders were often different. Because
Lukashyenka and the legislature were frequently at odds,
was little agreement or initiative in changing or
The national government consists of three branches:
legislative, executive, and judiciary
fig. 10). Under
constitution, the size of the Supreme Soviet (elected for
of five years) was reduced from 360 to 260 members. It is
highest legislative body of state power. Its functions
calling national referenda; adopting, revising, and
the constitution; scheduling parliamentary and
elections; electing members of high-level courts, the
general, and the chairman and members of the board of the
National Bank of Belarus; determining guidelines for
foreign policy; confirming the state budget; supervising
issues; ratifying international treaties; and determining
military policy. The role of the Presidium of the Supreme
was reduced to that of an agenda-setting and
The legislature's two subordinate state committees are the
Customs Committee and the State Security Committee.
Any Belarusian citizen who has the right to vote and is
least twenty-one years old is eligible to stand for
election as a
deputy. The parliament is elected by universal suffrage.
The president, a position created by the new
elected by popular vote for a five-year term of office and
head of state and of the executive branch of government.
she adopts measures to guard the country's sovereignty and
territorial integrity, appoints and dismisses the chairman
members of the Cabinet of Ministers, appoints judges,
country's National Security Council, and serves as
chief of the armed forces.
The president can be removed by a two-thirds vote in
parliament under certain circumstances, such as violating
constitution or committing a crime. However, the president
dismiss the parliament or other elected governing bodies.
The executive branch also includes the Cabinet of
composed of the heads of Belarus's twenty-six ministries:
administration of state property and privatization;
architecture and construction; CIS matters; communications
information technology; culture and the press; defense;
education and science; emergency situations and the
the population from the aftermath of the Chornobyl'
station disaster; finance; foreign affairs; foreign
relations; forestry; fuel and energy; health care; housing
municipal services; industry; information; internal
justice, labor; natural resources and environmental
social protection; statistics and analyses; trade; and
transportation and communications.
Judicial power is vested in a court system headed by
Constitutional Court, which consists of eleven judges who
nominated by the president and appointed by the Supreme
The Constitutional Court receives proposals from the
the chairman of the Supreme Soviet, the permanent
the Supreme Soviet, at least seventy deputies of the
Soviet, the Supreme Court, the Supreme Economic Court, or
Procurator General to review the constitutionality of
international agreements or obligations to which Belarus
party. The Constitutional Court also reviews the
constitutionality of domestic legal acts; presidential
regulations of the Cabinet of Ministers; the constitution;
legal documents; and regulatory decisions of the Supreme
the Supreme Economic Court, and the Procurator General.
Constitutional Court's decisions are final and not subject
The mid-level courts are regional courts, and below
district courts. These are presided over by judges
directly by the president. Trials in all courts are open.
parties involved in a case have the right to appeal
decisions, sentences, and other rulings. However, the
consists merely of a higher court's review of the protocol
other documents of the original trial. In actual practice,
decisions are rarely overturned.
There is a separate system of military courts. Military
judges are appointed directly by the president.
The Procuracy functions like a cross between a police
investigative bureau and a public prosecutor's office. It
investigates crimes, brings criminals to trial and
them, supervises courts and penal facilities within its
jurisdiction, reviews all court decisions in both civil
criminal cases, supervises investigations conducted by
government agencies, and ensures the uniform application
in the courts.
The Procuracy is headed by the procurator general, who
appointed by the Supreme Soviet. The procurator general
appoints each officer of the Procuracy, known as a
The constitution states that the procurator general and
subordinate procurators are to function independently, yet
procurator general is accountable to the Supreme Soviet.
Procurators are independent of regional and local
bodies because they derive their authority from the
general. Procurators are generally quite influential
supervise all criminal investigations; courts are
deferential to the procurators' actions, petitions, and
Data as of June 1995