The Leguslative and Executive Branches 





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The Leguslative and Executive Branches



Parliament

Parliament, the National Assembly of the Republic of Belarus is the representative and legislative body of the Republic of Belarus.

Parliament consists of two Chambers, the Chamber of Representatives and the Council of the Republic. The Constitution defines the quantitative composition and the procedure of forming the Chambers. The Chamber of Representatives consists of 110 deputies elected on the basis of universal, free, equal and direct suffrage, by secret ballot. A deputy of the Chamber of Representatives must be a citizen of the Republic of Belarus reaching the age of 21. The Council of the Republic is the Chamber of territorial representation. In each region and in the city of Minsk, 8 members of the Council of the Republic are elected at sittings of deputies by secret ballot. Eight members of the Council of the Republic are appointed by the President of the Republic of Belarus. A deputy of the Council of the Republic must be a citizen of the Republic of Belarus reaching the age of 30 and residing on the territory of the respective oblast or the city of Minsk for at least 5 years.

Sittings of the Chambers are held separately. Each Chamber elects its own Chairman and his Vice-Chairmen who run the sittings and manage the internal regulations in conformance with the Constitution. The Chamber of Representatives is entitled to hear the reports of the Prime Minister on the Government's programme of activity, to give a vote of no confidence to the Government, and to consider the issue of confidence to the Government upon the request of the Prime Minister.

The Chamber of Representatives appoints elections of the President and accepts the dismissal of the President.

The Council of the Republic may cancel the decisions of local Councils of Deputies, which run contrary to the legislation.

Any draft law, unless otherwise provided by the Constitution, is first considered by the Chamber of Representatives and then by the Council of the Republic.

A draft law, with the exception of cases provided by the Constitution, becomes a law upon adoption by the Chamber of Representatives and approval by the Council of the Republic, with a majority of votes of the full list of members in each Chamber.

The Constitution establishes the right of the Council of the Republic to consider the Decrees of the President on introducing the state of emergency, the martial law, total or partial mobilisation, and to take an appropriate decision within three days after their submission.

Parliament takes a decision on the President's dismissal.

The term of office of Parliament is 4 years. The Parliament's term of office may only be extended in case of war.

The Government

The Government, i.e. the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Belarus, is the central body of state management, the executive power in the Republic of Belarus.

In its activity, the Government is subordinated to the President and reports to Parliament.

The Government of the Republic of Belarus manages the system of state management bodies and other bodies of executive power subordinated to it.

The Council of Ministers of the Republic of Belarus is a collective body. It includes the Prime Minister, his deputies and the ministers. The Government may also include heads of other national state management bodies.

The Constitution establishes the right of the Government to issue resolutions which are binding on the entire territory of the Republic of Belarus, and to cancel the decisions of ministries and other bodies of state management

The Council of Ministers is one of the bodies which possesses the right of law-making initiative.

The Government terminates its powers before the newly elected President of the Republic of Belarus.

The President on the basis of and in agreement with the Constitution issues Decrees and Directions binding on the whole territory of the Republic of Belarus. In cases stipulated by the Constitution the President issues Decrees having the power of law. The President directly or through the bodies created by him provides execution of Decrees, Edicts and Directions.

Local Government and Self-government

The local government and self-government is exercised through local Councils of Deputies, executive and management bodies, bodies of territorial public self-management, local referenda and meetings.

The local Councils of Deputies are representative bodies of state power on the territory of the respective territorial administrative units and the main bodies of self-management.

The Constitution establishes the exclusive competence of local Councils of Deputies on the following issues: approval of programmes of economic and social development, local budgets and report on their execution.

The local Councils of Deputies are elected by citizens of the respective territorial administrative units for the term of 4 years.

In conformance with the Fundamental Law, heads of the local executive and management bodies are appointed and dismissed by the President or in the order established by him, and approved by the respective local Councils of Deputies.

Text D. Ask questions on the text and discuss the contents in pairs.

Legal System of Belarus

Legal system of any state reflects objective laws of society development, its historical, national and cultural peculiarities. The Republic of Belarus like any other state has its own legal system, which has both common features with legal systems of other countries and its special characteristics.

The analysis of the legal system of the Republic of Belarus proves the fact that the contents and the dynamics of this system are being affected not only by politics, but also by the entire cultural wealth of society: religion, philosophy, morality and science. The evolution of the legal system of Belarus has tight connection with economical factors – development of productive forces and labour-management relations, with coming into being market economy.

It's generally known that all legal systems can be categorized into the groups (“law families”) depending on some common features. The legal systems of the Republic of Belarus as well as legal system of other states of continental Europe belongs to the Roman-Germanic Law Family. Roman Law (jurisprudence of Ancient Rome) is the primary source of this law family. The main characteristics of the Roman-Germanic Law Family are: optimal generalization of a rule of law, dividing law into public law and private one, separating different branches of law. A normative legal act is the main legal source in the countries with legal systems based on Roman-Germanic Law Family unlike those countries with legal systems based on Common Law Family.

The legal system of Belarus has profound historical roots. The Belarusian Feudal Law rank high among the other world famoust ancient legal codes (such as the Code of Hammurabi, the Law of the Twelve Tables, The Justinian Code, the Napoleonic Code). The famous 1529, 1566, 1588 Statutes of the Grand Duchy of Lithuanian used to be the Law in force in the Middle Adges.The entire legal system of Belarus and Lithuania was based on the 1588 Statute for 250 years.

The legal system of the Republic of Belarus was greatly influenced by those states which influenced our country in particular historical periods (Poland – during the 17th–18th centuries, Russia – during the 19th–20th centuries). During the most part of the 20th century Belarus used to be a part of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (the USSR) and this fact surely affected the legal system of today's Belarus (its legal culture, formation of the branches of law, etc.). After the break-up of the USSR, the legal system of the Republic of Belarus segregated from so-called Socialist Law Family

The structure of the legal system of the Republic of Belarus contains three groups of legal elements (“legal phenomena”). Rules of law, legal principles and legal institutes (normative aspect) form the first group. The second group contains legal institutions (organizational aspect). And the third one is formed with legal views, opinions and concepts being peculiar for Belarusian society, standard of legal development.

Our republic as well as the other countries of the former USSR inherited the structure of the law system, which had been formed during the Soviet period. A branch of law is the basic structural division of the legal system in Belarus.

The system of law of the Republic of Belarus currently consists of the following branches: constitutional law, civil law, administrative law, criminal law, labour law, family law, land law, financial law, law of criminal procedure, law of civil procedure, law of execution of criminal punishment, etc.

The Constitution is the Fundamental Law of the Republic of Belarus, having supreme legal force. Legislative acts also cover laws enacted by Parliament and Decrees of the President which may have the force of laws in accordance with the Constitution. Decrees of the President, Decisions of the Government as well as legal acts of ministries and other governmental departments and acts of Local Councils of Deputies and Local Executive Committees are the most important acts of secondary legislation.

In the 1990th the legal system of the Republic of Belarus achieved an absolutely new phase of its development. With obtaining independence and the status of an equal member of the world community, adopting the Constitution appeared new possibilities for the development of the legal system of the Republic of Belarus according to the standards of a law-governed state and civil society.

The legal system of the Republic of Belarus is closely interacting with the legal system of Russia. The Treaty between Belarus and Russian Federation “On Creation of the Union State” dated on December 8, 1999 foresees the creation of the unified democratic legal system as one of the objectives of the Union State.

Time will show the real vitality of this legal system.

Text E. Read the text and translate it in writing.

Judicial Power

The judicial power in the Republic of Belarus belongs to courts.

The Court structure in the Republic of Belarus is determined by the law. The judicial power is exercised by general, economic and other courts envisaged by the legislation of the Republic of Belarus.

General courts in the Republic of Belarus include the Supreme Court of the Republic of Belarus, Minsk city, district (town) and military courts. Economic courts include the Supreme Economic Court of the Republic of Belarus, economic courts of oblasts and other courts with an equal status, economic courts in towns and districts.

In cases, stipulated by the legislation of the Republic of Belarus, specialised courts may be formed within the system of general and economic courts, such as juvenile, family, administrative, land, tax or other courts.

Creation of emergency courts is prohibited.

Justice in the Republic is exercised by courts on the basis of the Constitution and other standard laws adopted in conformance with it. Cases are considered in court collectively, in some cases envisaged by the law, individually by a sole judge.

The Constitution establishes the right of courts to raise the issue of considering certain standard laws as unconstitutional if, in the course of considering specific cases, the court comes to the conclusion on non-conformity of die law to the Constitution.

In exercising justice, the judges are independent and are subordinated to the law only. Interference into the activity of judges engaged in judicature is prohibited and punishable by the law. Judges may not be engaged in entrepreneurial activity or perform any other paid jobs, except teaching and research.

The control over correspondence of standard laws in the State to the Constitution is performed by the Constitutional Court. The Constitutional Court gives evaluation on correspondence of standard laws to the Constitution upon the request of the President, Chamber of Representatives, Council of the Republic, the Supreme Court, the Supreme Economic Court and the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Belarus.





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