Constitution Day is marked in Belarus on 15 March. Adopted in 1994, the present Constitution of the Republic of Belarus is the fundamental law of the country.
Here are five interesting facts about the document that forms the foundation of the legislative system in Belarus.
1. The first sovereign constitution
The present Constitution of Belarus was adopted in 1994 and amended and supplemented twice – at the national referenda on 24 November 1996 and 17 October 2004.
It is the first Constitution in the history of the independent Belarus and the fifth Constitution of Belarus passed after the October Revolution of 1917.
2. It was tested by foreign experts
When Belarus became independent from the Soviet Union in 1991, the Supreme Soviet of Belarus passed the Declaration of State Sovereignty of the Belarusian Soviet Socialist Republic, proclaiming Byelorussian SSR acts legal priority over USSR ones.
Soon afterwards, the government established a Constitution Commission to facilitate the adoption of a post-Soviet constitution. The Commission included 74 MPs.
The new law passed examination in France, Great Britain and the USA.
The third and final draft was signed on March 15, 1994 by the Speaker of the Supreme Soviet and Head of State, Myechyslaw Hryb.
3. It guarantees free education and social welfare
The country’s main law lists the rights and freedoms of Belarusians. In particular, it guarantees:
- the right to healthcare services (free in state institutions)
- the right to social welfare for the elderly, sick, disabled and non-earning households
- the right to a free general education for all
- the right to free professional technical training
In addition, it establishes the equality of the Belarusian and Russian languages – both of them are proclaimed state languages in Belarus.
4. Youth gets passports on this day
Interestingly, young Belarusians are awarded their first passports during official ceremonies held throughout the festive week.
Teenagers receive passports from high-standing state officials.
5. It will undergo more updates
Further changes to the Constitution will be in future, President Alexander Lukashenko said in 2016.
“New challenges and problems have appeared. Time itself calls for change. We will create a group of experts and will do it, if necessary.”
Main photo: president.gov.by