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Belarus: Government#

Country nameconventional long form: Republic of Belarus
conventional short form: Belarus
local long form: Respublika Byelarus'/Respublika Belarus'
local short form: Byelarus'/Belarus'
former: Belorussian (Byelorussian) Soviet Socialist Republic
etymology: the name is a compound of the Belarusian words "bel" (white) and "Rus" (the Old East Slavic ethnic designation) to form the meaning White Rusian or White Ruthenian
Government typepresidential republic in name, although in fact a dictatorship
CapitalMinsk Minsk
geographic coordinates: 53 54 N, 27 34 E
time difference: UTC+2 (7 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions6 provinces (voblastsi, singular - voblasts') and 1 municipality* (horad); Brest, Homyel' (Gomel'), Horad Minsk* (Minsk City), Hrodna (Grodno), Mahilyow (Mogilev), Minsk, Vitsyebsk (Vitebsk)
note: administrative divisions have the same names as their administrative centers; Russian spelling provided for reference when different from Belarusian
Independence25 August 1991 (from the Soviet Union)
National holidayIndependence Day, 3 July (1944); note - 3 July 1944 was the date Minsk was liberated from German troops, 25 August 1991 was the date of independence from the Soviet Union
Constitutionhistory: several previous; latest drafted between late 1991 and early 1994, signed 15 March 1994
amendments: proposed by the president of the republic through petition to the National Assembly or by at least 150,000 eligible voters; approval required by at least two-thirds vote of members in both chambers or by simple majority of eligible voters in a referendum (2016)
Legal systemcivil law system; note - nearly all major codes (civil, civil procedure, criminal, criminal procedure, family, and labor) have been revised and came into force in 1999 or 2000
International law organization participationhas not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt
Citizenshipcitizenship by birth: no
citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of Belarus
dual citizenship recognized: no
residency requirement for naturalization: 7 years
Suffrage18 years of age; universal
Executive branchchief of state: president Aleksandr LUKASHENKO (since 20 July 1994)
head of government: prime minister Andrey KOBYAKOV (since 27 December 2014); first deputy prime minister Vasily MATYUSHEVSKIY (since 27 December 2014)
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president
elections/appointments: president directly elected by absolute majority popular vote in 2 rounds if needed for a 5-year term (no term limits); first election took place on 23 June and 10 July 1994; according to the 1994 constitution, the next election should have been held in 1999, however, Aleksandr LUKASHENKO extended his term to 2001 via a November 1996 referendum; subsequent election held on 9 September 2001; an October 2004 referendum ended presidential term limits and allowed the president to run in a third (19 March 2006), fourth (19 December 2010), and fifth election (11 October 2015); next election in 2020; prime minister and deputy prime ministers appointed by the president and approved by the National Assembly
election results: Aleksandr LUKASHENKO reelected president; percent of vote - Aleksandr LUKASHENKO (independent) 83.5%, Tatsiana KARATKEVICH (Tell the Truth) 4.4%, Sergey GAYDUKEVICH (LDP) 3.3%, other 8.8%; note - election marred by electoral fraud
Legislative branchdescription: bicameral National Assembly or Natsionalnoye Sobraniye consists of the Council of the Republic or Sovet Respubliki (64 seats; 56 members indirectly elected by regional and Minsk city councils and 8 members appointed by the president; members serve 4-year terms) and the House of Representatives or Palata Predstaviteley (110 seats; members directly elected in single-seat constituencies by absolute majority vote with a second round if needed; members serve 4-year terms); note - the US does not recognize the legitimacy of the National Assembly
elections: House of Representatives - last held on 11 September 2016 (next to be held in 2020); OSCE observers determined that the election was neither free nor impartial and that vote counting was problematic in a number of polling stations; pro-LUKASHENKO candidates won virtually every seat with only the UCP member and one independent forming opposition representation in the House; international observers determined that the previous elections, on 28 September 2008 and 23 September 2012, also fell short of democratic standards, with pro-LUKASHENKO candidates winning every seat
election results: Council of the Republic - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - NA; House of Representatives - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - KPB 8, Belarusian Patriotic Party 3, Republican Party of Labor and Justice 3, LDP 1, UCP 1, independents 104
Judicial branchhighest court(s): Supreme Court (consists of the chairman, deputy chairman, and organized into several specialized panels including economic and military; number of judges set by the president of the republic and the court chairman); Constitutional Court (consists of 12 judges including a chairman and deputy chairman)
judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court judges appointed by the president with the consent of the Council of the Republic; judges initially appointed for 5 years and evaluated for life appointment; Constitutional Court judges - 6 including the court chairman appointed by the president and 6 elected by the House of Representatives; judges can serve for 11 years with an age limit of 70
subordinate courts: provincial (including Minsk city) courts; first instance (district) courts; economic courts; military courts
Political parties and leaderspro-government parties:
Belarusian Agrarian Party or AP (Mikhail SHIMANSKIY)
Belarusian Patriotic Party (Nikolai ULAKHOVICH)
Belarusian Socialist Sporting Party (Vladimir ALEKSANDROVICH)
Communist Party of Belarus or KPB (Igor KARPENKO)
Liberal Democratic Party or LDP (Sergey GAYDUKEVICH)
Republican Party (Vladimir BELOZOR)
Republican Party of Labor and Justice (Vasiliy ZADNEPRYANIY)
opposition parties:
Belarusian Christian Democracy Party (Pavel SEVERINETS) (unregistered)
Belarusian Liberal Party of Freedom and Progress (Vladimir NOVOSYAD) (unregistered)
Belarusian Party of the Green (Anastasiya DOROFEYEVA)
Belarusian Party of the Left "Fair World" (Sergey KALYAKIN)
Belarusian Popular Front or BPF (Aleksey YANUKEVICH)
Belarusian Social-Democratic Assembly (Stanislav SHUSHKEVICH)
Belarusian Social Democratic Party ("Assembly") or BSDPH (Irina VESHTARD)
Belarusian Social Democratic Party (People's Assembly) (Nikolay STATKEVICH) (unregistered)
Christian Conservative Party or BPF (Zyanon PAZNYAK)
United Civic Party or UCP (Anatoliy LEBEDKO)
Political pressure groups and leadersAssembly of Pro-Democratic NGOs (Sergey MATSKEVICH) (unregistered)
Belarusian Association of Journalists (Andrei BASTUNETS)
Belarusian Congress of Democratic Trade Unions (Aleksandr YAROSHUK)
Belarusian Helsinki Committee (Aleh HULAK)
For Freedom Movement (Aleksandr Milinkevich)
Malady Front (Young Front) (Zmitser DASHKEVICH) (unregistered)
Vyasna (Spring) human rights center (Ales BELYATSKIY) (unregistered)
Perspektiva (Anatoliy SHUMCHENKO) (small business association)
"Tell the Truth" Movement (Tatsiana KARATKEVICH) (unregistered)
Women's Independent Democratic Movement (Ludmila PETINA)
International organization participationBSEC (observer), CBSS (observer), CEI, CIS, CSTO, EAEC, EAEU, EAPC, EBRD, FAO, GCTU, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (NGOs), ICRM, IDA, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), MIGA, NAM, NSG, OPCW, OSCE, PCA, PFP, SCO (dialogue member), UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNIFIL, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO (observer), ZC
Diplomatic representation in the USchief of mission: Ambassador (vacant; recalled by Belarus in 2008); Charge d'Affaires Pavel SHIDLOVSKIY (since 23 April 2014)
chancery: 1619 New Hampshire Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20009
telephone: (1) (202) 986-1606
FAX: (1) (202) 986-1805
consulate(s) general: New York
Diplomatic representation from the USchief of mission: Ambassador (vacant; left in 2008 upon insistence of Belarusian Government); Charge d'Affaires Robert RILEY (since 22 August 2016)
embassy: 46 Starovilenskaya Street, Minsk 220002
mailing address: Unit 7010 Box 100, DPO AE 09769
telephone: (375) (17) 210-12-83
FAX: (375) (17) 334-7853
Flag descriptionred horizontal band (top) and green horizontal band one-half the width of the red band; a white vertical stripe on the hoist side bears Belarusian national ornamentation in red; the red band color recalls past struggles from oppression, the green band represents hope and the many forests of the country
National symbol(s)no clearly defined current national symbol, the mounted knight known as Pahonia (the Chaser) is the traditional Belarusian symbol; national colors: green, red, white
National anthemname: "My, Bielarusy" (We Belarusians)
lyrics/music: Mikhas KLIMKOVICH and Uladzimir KARYZNA/Nester SAKALOUSKI

note: music adopted 1955, lyrics adopted 2002; after the fall of the Soviet Union, Belarus kept the music of its Soviet-era anthem but adopted new lyrics; also known as "Dziarzauny himn Respubliki Bielarus" (State Anthem of the Republic of Belarus)