Belarus (Belarus) has been governed since
1994 by President Aleksandr Lukashenko and his
authoritarian government. Parliament (National Assembly)
has extremely limited powers. The regime is accused of
extensive human rights violations and, for that reason,
has been excluded from the Council of Europe.
The constitution was adopted in 1996 following a
referendum on the previous constitution of 1994. The
referendum was criticized for being undemocratic and led
to changes that gave the president increased powers of
power. Following a new sharply criticized referendum in
2004, the constitution was changed so that the president
can be re-elected as many times as possible. Previously,
the same person could only be president for two terms.
Total population and chart of Belarus for years of 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023 and 2024. Also covers population density, birth rate, death rate and population growth rates.
The president is head of state and is elected for
five years in direct elections. He is responsible for
the security and sovereignty of the state, appoints the
head of government and ministers, appoints judges, heads
the National Security Council and is the
commander-in-chief of the armed forces. It is also the
president who appoints half of the members of the
country's constitutional court, including the chairman,
as well as half of the members of the electoral
In practice, President Lukashenko and his government
directly or indirectly control the entire apparatus of
power. The President has the right to issue decrees,
that is, a kind of law that does not have to be approved
The National Assembly formally has the legislative
power and consists of two chambers: the House of
Representatives and the Republican
Council. The 110 members of the House of Representatives
are elected in general elections every four years. The
Republican Council has 64 members, 56 of whom are
appointed by regional bodies and 8 by the president.
According to foreign observers, all elections that have
been held since 1996 have completely lacked democratic
On various formal grounds, regime critics who want to
run for president or parliamentary elections are
rejected. Only candidates approved by the electoral
authority may hold electoral meetings.
Administratively, Belarus is divided into six regions
(voblasti) plus the capital Minsk. The regions
are in turn divided into districts (rajonger, rajon).
The governors of the regions are appointed by the
president, while the municipal council is elected by
universal suffrage every four years.
The political parties are weak and are rather
alliances between different individuals and interests
than actual parties. The vast majority of Members of
Parliament do not belong to any party but are elected as
individual candidates. The parties can mainly be divided
into two categories: those who support Lukashenko and
those who oppose him. The latter generally advocate a
more Western-oriented and less Russia-dependent Belarus.
Lukashen faithful parties: Belarus Communist
Party (Kamunistytjnaja Partyja Belarusi), which
wants a union with Russia, as well as the
Agrarian Party (Agrarnaja Partyja),
Republican Party for Labor and Justice
(Respublikanskaja Partyja Pratsy in Spravjadlivasti) and
Belarus Liberal Democratic Party (Belarus
Liberal Democratic Party), which stands near
Vladimir Zhirinovsky's Liberal Democratic Party in
Russia. The big ones also include Belarus
Patriotic Party (Belorusskaja Patriotitjeskaja
(The above-mentioned parties have in the past
been called the Belarusian Communist Party, the
Belarusian Liberal Democratic Party and the Patriotic
Party of Belarus, but the translations are changed as
the country is now commonly called Belarus in Swedish
Among the faithful, independent candidates in
parliament, two-thirds are members of the
Lukashenko-based Belaja Rus
Opposition to Lukashenko is weak and fragmented, and
the opposition parties' ability to act is severely
limited. Many politicians have been harassed by the
police, exiled or simply disappeared. The main
opposition parties are the Liberal United
Citizens' Party (Obedinnaja Grazjdanskaja
Partija) and the BPF Party (Partyja
BNF). There are also several citizen movements gathering
regime opponents, including For Freedom
(Za Svobodu) and Say The Truth (Govori
The EU extends sanctions
The EU is extending its sanctions against individuals and companies with
links to the Minsk regime, with one more year.
The election will be held on September 23. No opposition candidate gets a
seat in parliament, just like in previous elections. All 110 seats except one
will be ready already in the first round, ie the government-friendly candidate
gets at least 50 percent of the vote. The turnout is 74.3 percent.
Activists are sentenced to prison
Three activists from the organization Say the truth are sentenced to shorter
prison sentences the days before the election for trying to organize a
demonstration for election boycotts.
Opposition politicians withdraw candidacy
Just a week before the election, the two leading opposition parties, the
Belarusian People's Front and the United Citizens' Party, are withdrawing their
candidates and urging people to boycott the elections.
Opposition politicians are banned in presidential elections
Opposition politician Aljaksandr Milinkevich is not allowed to register as a
candidate for the September parliamentary elections. The reason is that many of
the signatures he collected are invalid and that he did not provide accurate
information about his personal finances. Milinkevich was Lukashenko's closest
challenger in the 2006 presidential election.
Make new Foreign Minister
Lukashenko dismisses his Foreign Minister Sergei Martynov and appoints
Vladimir Makej, head of the powerful presidential office. Unlike Martynov, Husk
is included in the EU sanctions list, which means that he is banned in the EU.
Sweden's ambassador is expelled
Sweden's ambassador Stefan Eriksson is expelled from Belarus, accused of
having too close contacts with the Belarusian opposition and of having brought
in books on human rights in the country. Sweden responds by expelling two
Belarusian diplomats and refuses to accept the incoming Belarusian ambassador. A
few days later, Belarus closes its embassy in Stockholm and expels all Swedish
diplomats in Minsk. President Lukashenko accuses the Swedish embassy of having
cooperated with the advertising agency behind the teddy bear campaign (see
July 2012). All EU countries stand on the Swedish side but do
not call their ambassadors home. Also the US and the Council of Europestates
support for Sweden. Only in 2015 will Sweden send a new ambassador to Minsk and
Belarus will station an ambassador in Stockholm only 2018.
Teddy rain in support of the opposition
A Swedish advertising agency manages to enter Belarusian airspace with a
private plan and drops hundreds of teddy bears across Minsk. The teddy bears
include leaflets in support of the Belarusian opposition. Movie clips with teddy
bears are posted on the internet, which means that the regime does not succeed
in darkening the event. The teddy bear coup leads to President Lukashenko
dismissing the Foreign Minister as well as the heads of state border security
and the Air Force.
The UN appoints MR investigators
The UN Human Rights Council decides to appoint a special investigator of
human rights violations in Belarus. The Council refers to information on
torture, ill treatment of prisoners and other abuses.
Lukashenko announces presidential elections
Lukashenko announces that presidential elections will be held on September
The authorities announce that the two convicted of the explosion in the Minsk
subway have been executed (see November).
EU ambassadors leave Minsk
The government calls on EU and Polish ambassadors to leave the country. This
happens after the EU decided to impose sanctions on 19 judges and two police
chiefs as punishment for trying to curb opposition activities. The EU responds
by calling on all Minsk ambassadors from all Member States. They return two