Lukashenka may amend Constitution
On October 7th, 2016, at a meeting with MPs from the House of Representatives of the National Assembly, President Lukashenka said: "We need to create a group of wise men, lawyers who could analyse the Basic Law. And if need be, we'll do it”. By this, the president meant amendments to the Constitution; apparently, not through a referendum, but through the Parliament. Experts suggest that changes could attribute to the party system, i.e. introduce the mixed-majority election system to the Parliament. In addition, they could include the death penalty issue and extend the powers of the current authorities. Exotic options include opportunities for a succession - election of the president through the parliament, which is rather a science fiction than a real option.
The Belarusian authorities regard the Catholic conference as yet another international event to promote Minsk as a global negotiating platform. Minsk’s proposal to organise a meeting between the Roman-Catholic Church and the Russian Orthodox Church is rather an image-making undertaking than a serious intention. However, the authorities could somewhat extend the opportunities for the Roman-Catholic Church in Belarus due to developing contacts with the Catholic world.
Minsk is attempting to lay out a mosaic from various international religious, political and sportive events to shape a positive image of Belarus for promoting the Helsinki 2.0 idea.
Belarus’ invitation to the head of the Holy See for a meeting with the Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church should be regarded as a continuation of her foreign policy efforts in shaping Minsk’s peacekeeping image and enhancing Belarus’ international weight. The Belarusian authorities are aware that their initiative is unlikely to find supporters among the leadership of the Russian Orthodox Church in Moscow. In Russia, isolationist sentiments prevail.
In addition, for domestic audiences, the authorities make up for the lack of tangible economic growth with demonstrations of growth in Minsk’s authority at international level through providing a platform for religious, sportive and other dialogues.