Publication: "The Importance of Constitutional Law for Belarusian Democracy"

By Assoc Prof Will Partlett

CTN Convenor Will Partlett has published a paper with Internatinal IDEA on "The Importance of Constitutional Law for Belarusian Democracy:An Analysis of the Amended 1994 Constitution and Considerations for Democratic Reform". The paper describes the role of constitutional law in political developments in Belarus since 1994. It analyses how the President of Belarus, Aleksandr Lukashenko, has used changes to the 1994 Belarus Constitution (largely focused on section IV) to consolidate and sustain his centralized, authoritarian rule.

Will observes that these changes have provided the Office of the President with formal constitutional power to dominate the legislature, local government, the courts, prosecutors and fourth-branch regulatory or integrity institutions. This constitutional authority has therefore subordinated most Belarusian institutions to presidential power. This institutional power has also provided an important tool for the president to dominate informal politics by, for instance, signalling to key elites the centrality of the Office of the President and allowing the president to control or co-opt these elites when necessary.

Download the Paper