The Constitution of the Republic of Belarus



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The Constitution of the Republic of Belarus



The Constitution is the fundamental law of the Republic of Belarus. When Belarus was one of the republics of the former Soviet Union, it also had its own Constitution, but in reality it was submitted to the Constitution of the USSR.

A new stage in the history of Belarusian statehood began on July 27, 1990 when the BSSR Supreme Soviet adopted the Declaration “On the State Sovereignty of the BSSR”. On August 25, 1991 the BSSR Supreme Soviet declared the political and economical independence of Belarus. In December 1991 the agreement on creation of cis was signed in the Belovezhskaya Pushcha.

The final legal act that declared Belarus a new democratic state in Eastern Europe was the 1994 Constitution. The present-day Constitution of the Republic of Belarus with amendments and additions was adopted at the national referendum on November 24, 1996.

According to the Constitution, Belarus is a presidential republic. The head of the state and the executive power is President who is elected for a five-year term. The Constitution consists of a preamble and eight chapters:

1) the basis of the constitutional system;

2) person, society, state;

3) election system, referendum;

4) legislative, executive and judicial branches of power;

5) local government and self – government;

6) state control and supervision;

7) finance and credit system;

8) the Constitution in action and the order of its changing.

The Constitution defines the Republic of Belarus as a unitary democratic social State with the rule of law which possesses supremacy and complete authority on its territory. The Republic of Belarus independently carries out domestic and foreign policy.

The territory of Belarus is unified and inalienable, it is a natural condition of existence and a spatial limit of natural self- determination, the basis for the nation’s well-being and sovereignty.

The multitude of political institutes, ideologies and opinions is one of the foundations of exercising democracy in the Republic. According to the Constitution the creation and activity of political parties, as well as other public associations which have as a goal a violent change in the constitutional system or are conducting propaganda of war, national, religious and racist hostility is prohibited on the territory of the Republic of Belarus.

The Constitution establishes the principle of the supremacy of law. The State and all its organs and officials act within the limits of the Constitution and the laws adopted in accordance with it.

The Republic of Belarus recognises the priority of universally acknowledged principles of international law and ensures that its legislation conforms to its norms.

In its foreign policy the Republic of Belarus proceeds from the principles of the equality of States, non-use of force or threat of force, inviolability of borders, peaceful settlement of disputes, non-interference in internal affairs and from other norms of international law. The Republic of Belarus has a goal to make its territory a nuclear-free zone, with a neutral government.

The symbols of the Republic of Belarus as a sovereign State are its state flag, state emblem, and state anthem. Minsk is the capital of the Republic of Belarus.

The Belarusian and Russian languages are the state languages of the Republic.

The Constitution states that securing the rights and freedoms of citizens is the supreme goal of the state.

The Constitution of Belarus proclaims that all are equal before the law and have the right to equal protection of their rights and legitimate interests.

The State guarantees the freedom of opinion and conviction and the right to freely voice them as well as the freedom of public rallies and meetings, street processions, demonstrations and picketing, which do not violate the legal order and the rights of other citizens of the Republic.

Monopolisation of the mass media by the state, public associations or individuals is prohibited.

The Constitution of the Republic of Belarus guarantees the citizens of Belarus the right to health protection and social security in old age as well as free general education and professional technical training. Secondary special and higher education is accessible to all, depending on the abilities of each person. Each person has the right to obtain education in a state educational institution on the basis of contest and free of change.

The Constitution guarantees equal protection and equal conditions for the development of all forms of ownership for existence of state and private property.

The Constitution establishes the principle of separation of powers. State power in Belarus is founded on the basis of its separation into legislative, executive and judiciary. State organs in the Republic act independently and cooperate with one another, and restrain and counterbalance one another.

The defence of the Republic of Belarus is one of the most important functions of the State and is the duty of all the citizens of the country.

The Constitution establishes that no one may be pronounced guilty of a crime unless his quilt has been proven by law in a lawful court’s sentence. The Constitution reproduces the provision of the Declaration of Human Rights with regard to presumption of innocence.

The Republic of Belarus is a part of the world community. It recognises the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the UN Charter, the International Convents on Civil and Political Rights and on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and accedes to the agreements within the framework of the OSCE and to many international conventions. The principles established by the major international legal instruments have found their reflection in the provisions of the Belarusian Constitution.

Elections and Referenda

The Fundamental law of the Republic of Belarus establishes the principle of the State building on the basis of rules of law by means of such institutions as free election and referendum, and the people as the only source of power.

The President of the Republic of Belarus, deputies of the Chamber of Representatives of the National Assembly, as well as deputies of local Councils of Deputies are elected on the basis of general, equal, direct suffrage, by secret ballot. The right to nominate candidates for deputies belongs to public associations, workers’ collectives and citizens in accordance with the law.

The electoral procedures are prescribed by the laws of the Republic of Belarus.

Holding a referendum is one of the means of participation of citizens in the management of the affairs of the society and state. A referendum is conducted by general, free, equal voting by secret ballot. No control over the will of the voters is allowed during the voting. All citizens of the Republic of Belarus who have the right to vote take part in referenda.

Vocabulary Practice

Ex. 1. Read the words and guess their meaning. Mind the stress.

constitution republic fundamental soviet president finance history Belarusian declaration democratic preamble credit Europe national referendum system territory organise

Ex. 2. Complete the list of derivatives. Use a dictionary if necessary.

Verb Noun (agent) Noun (concept)
legislate guarantee implement organise interact legislator legislation

Ex. 3. Write down the derivatives of the following words.

history invade conquer foreign nation proclaim disintegrate emerge defence Belarus courage tribe inhabit occupy economy

Ex. 4. Pair the words in column A with the ones in column B.

A. fundamental Belarusian political peaceful internal nuclear-free sovereign state health higher establish human guarantee B. settlement independence law state hood zone obtains languages state education protection principles rights freedom

Ex. 5. Add nouns to the following adjectives to form noun phrases.

fundamental new economical legal democratic present-day political foreign peaceful neutral sovereign local equal legitimate social supreme legislative electoral

Ex.6. Mach the English and Russian equivalents:

1. fundamental law 2. state sovereignty 3. to adopt the declaration 4. to declare the independence 5. legislative branch of power 6. executive power 7. judicial branch of power 8. local government 9. the basis of the constitutional 10. domestic and foreign policy 11. well-being of the people 12. violent change 13. the supremacy of law 14. international law 15. threat of force 16. the freedom of opinion 17. the principle of separation of powers 18. the defence of the country 19. equal conditions 20. the rights and duties of the citizens a) права и обязанности граждан b) внутренняя и внешняя политика c) равные условия d) защита страны e) принцип разделения властей f) свобода мнений g) угроза силы h) международное право i) превосходство закона j) насильственное изменение k) благосостояние народа l) основа конституционной системы m) местное правительство n) судебная ветвь власти o) исполнительная власть p) законодательная ветвь власти q) провозглашать независимость r) принимать декларацию s) государственный суверенитет t) основной закон

Ex. 7. Choose the proper word to complete the sentence from the ones given: security, guarantee, freely, supremacy, constitution, equal, carry out, unitary, elected, executive, presidential, legal, statehood, fundamental.

1. The Constitution is the ... law of the Republic of Belarus.

2. A new stage in the history of Belarusian ... began on July 27, 1990.

3. The first ... act that ... Belarus a new democratic state was the 1994 ... .

4. According to the Constitution, Belarus is a ... republic.

5. The head of the state and the ... power is President.

6. The President is ... for a five-year term.

7. The Constitution defines the Republic of Belarus as a ... democratic state.

8. Belarus independently ... domestic and foreign policy.

9. The Constitution establishes the principle of the ... of law.

10. The Constitution proclaims that all are ... before the law.

11. The State ... the freedom of opinion and conviction and the right to voice them ... .

12. The fundamental law guarantees the citizens of Belarus the protection and social ... in old age.

Ex. 8. Express the same idea in one word choosing the one from the words given:

constitution structure law state republic democracy free violate defence security war force citizen foreign treaty declare legislative executive judicial referendum

1. fighting against attack;

2. caused by a cruel attack;

3. a country with a system of government in which the elected representatives of the people are supreme, and with an elected head;

4. organised political community with a government;

5. rule made by authority for the proper regulation of a community or society or for correct conduct in life;

6. system of government, laws and principles according to which a state is governed;

7. freedom from danger or anxiety;

8. the use of armed forces between countries;

9. use pressure or influence to make somebody get or do something;

10. having the dutyof making laws;

11. having authority to carry out decisions and laws;

12. by a court of justice;

13. a person who has full rights in a state ;

14. not one's own;

15. an agreement made and signed between nations(persons);

16. make known clearly or formally;

17. way in which something is put together, organised;

18. the referring of a political question to a direct vote of the electorate.

19. a political system in which supreme power belongs to the people;

20. having personal rights and social and political liberties.

Discussion

Ex. 1. Answer the following questions. Work in pairs.

1. What is the fundamental law of the Republic of Belarus?

2. Did Belarus have its own Constitution when it was one of the Soviet Union's republics?

3. When did a new stage in the history of Belarusian statehood begin?

4. What document of historic importance was adopted on July the 27th, 1990?

5. What happened in December 19991 in the Belovezhskaya Pushcha?

6. What was the first legal act that declared Belarus a new democratic state in Eastern Europe?

7. When was the present-day Constitution adopted?

8. What is the basis of the 1994 Constitution?

9. Is Belarus a presidential or parliamentary Republic?

10. How many chapters does the Constitution of the Belarusian Republic consist of?

11. What possesses supremacy and complete authority on the territory of Belarus?

12. What is prohibited on the territory of the Republic of Belarus?

13. What are the symbols of the Republic of Belarus as a sovereign state?

14. What languages are state languages in Belarus?

15. What does the Constitution proclaim?

16. 16.What rights does the Constitution guarantee?

17. What principle does the Constitution establish?

18. What basis is the state power founded on in Belarus?

19. What is one of the most important duties of all the citizens of the country?

20. When may a person be pronounced guilty of a crime in Belarus?

Ex. 2. Complete the following sentences.

1. The Constitution is ...

2. A new stage in the history of ...

3. The final legal act that declared ...

4. The present-day constitution ...

5. The head of the state is elected ...

6. The Constitution consists of ...

7. The Constitution defines ...

8. The territory of Belarus is ...

9. The multitude of political institutes ...

10. National, religious and racist hostility ...

11. The Republic of Belarus recognises the priority ...

12. The Constitution states that securing the rights and ...

13. Monopolisation of the mass media ...

14. The Constitution guarantees the citizens ...

Ex. 3. Ask questions on the Constitution of the Republic of Belarus using the following word combinations. Work in pairs.

1.to adopt the Constitution, 2.to declare the political and economical independence, 3.the agreement on creation, 4.the final legal act, 5.at the national referendum, 6.a presidential republic, 7.to be elected, 8.to consist of, 9.unitary democratic state, 10.nation's well-being and sovereignty, 11.the principle of supremacy of law, 12.to act within the limits of the Constitution, 13.non-use of force or threat of force, 14.the supreme goal of the state, 15.to be equal before the law, 16.to have the right to equal protection, 17.to define and regulate the relationship between the state and individuals, 1.the right to health protection, 2.social security in old age, 3.to be accessible to everybody, 4.to obtain education, 5.on the basis of contest and free of charge, 6.all forms of ownership, 7.state and private ownership, 8.the principle of separation of powers, 9.legislative, executive and judicial branches, 10.to be proved by law in a lawful court's sentence, 11.the part of the world community, 12.to recognise the Declaration of Human Rights, 13.a set of rules, 14.to establish the duties, powers and functions of various institutions of government;

Grammar Practice



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