|Per 2021, only one person, Alexander Lukashenko, has served since independence in 1994.
The president of the Republic of Belarus is the head of state. The office was created in 1994 with the passing of the Constitution of Belarus by the Supreme Soviet. This replaced the office of Chairman of the Supreme Soviet as the head of state. The tasks of the president include executing foreign and domestic policy, defending the rights and general welfare of citizens and residents, and upholding the Constitution. The president is mandated by the Constitution to serve as a leader in the social affairs of the country and to act as its main representative abroad. The duties, responsibilities and other transitional clauses dealing with the presidency are listed in Chapter Three, Articles 79 through 89, of the Constitution.
The term for the president is five years, but due to a 1996 referendum, the election that was supposed to occur in 1999 was pushed back to 2001. Under the 1994 constitution, the president could only serve for two terms as president, but due to a change in the constitution, term limits were eliminated. During the course of the office, elections were held in 1994, 2001, 2006, 2010, 2015 and 2020. Alexander Lukashenko is the only person to serve as president since the 1994 elections.
Powers and duties
Articles 84 and 85 states the official political, social and national defense duties that are rested with the president. Other than the enumerated powers, Number 30 allows the president to use other powers granted to him either from national law or from other sections of the Constitution.
Part of the prerogative of the president is the right to call national referendums, and to call regular and extraordinary elections to the House of Representatives, the Council of the Republic and local representative bodies. He can also dissolve the chambers of the Parliament, as the Constitution permits. It is his duty to appoint the prime minister of the Republic of Belarus with the consent of the House of Representatives, and to decide the structure of the Government of the Republic of Belarus. The president signs bills, and has the right to return it, fully or in parts, with objections to the House of Representatives. He also appoints– and can dismiss– the deputy Prime ministers, the ministers and the other members of the Government, and he decides in cases of resignation of the Government, or any of its members. With the consent of the Council of the Republic, the president appoints the chairperson of the Supreme Court, and can dismiss this chairperson and other judges. The president is supposed to deliver annual messages to the Parliament, and has the right to participate in the sessions of Parliament and its bodies. In instances of strike, the president has the right, in instances specified in the law, to defer or suspend a strike for a period not exceeding three months. In international affairs, it is the president's duty to conduct negotiations and sign international treaties, and to appoint and recall diplomatic representatives of the Republic.
Not only the president is the head of government, he is the social leader of Belarus. The president delivers messages to the citizens several times a year and can issue decrees to establish red letter days and national holidays. The president is the main authority for the granting of Belarusian citizen and can present state decorations to honored individuals. The president also has the ability to determine the status of asylum seekers and grant pardons to convicted citizens.
As the supreme commander-in-chief of the Belarusian Armed Forces, the president has the duty to protect the Belarusian territory from internal and external forces. The president can call for a state of emergency in the following cases: natural disasters, a catastrophe, or unrest involving violence or the threat of violence. Regardless if the declaration affects the entire country or sections of it, the Council of the Republic must be notified by the president and must seek their approval within three days of notification. The same rules applies if the president issues a state of martial law in the event of a possible military action against Belarus. The president has to form and head the Security Council of the Republic of Belarus, and can appoint and dismiss the state secretary of the Security Council and the Supreme Command of the Armed Forces.
An Office Holder on Wikispooks
|20 July 1994