The Republic of Belarus (Belarus) was established in 1990, in the aftermath of the collapse of the Soviet Union and its Constitution, the supreme source of law, was adopted in 1994. The President is both the head of state and head of government. The National Assembly is the representative and legislative body. The Supreme Court is the highest judicial body. The bicameral National Assembly consists of the Chamber of Representatives (110 seats; members elected by popular vote for four-year terms) and the Council of the Republic (64 seats; 56 members elected by regional and Minsk city councils, eight members appointed by the president, for four-year terms). The last elections were held in September 2016, and the next elections are expected for 2020.
The President, MPs, the Government, and any group of at least 50,000 citizens eligible to vote can initiate laws. Draft laws that could require net state expenses can be proposed only with the consent of the President (or the Government, upon the President’s consent). Other Acts can be enacted by the National Assembly (laws, codes), or by the President (Decrees, which have the force of law). The most important sources of legislation are Edicts, Orders of the President, Resolutions of the Government, Decisions of the ministries, state committees and other state bodies, and local legislative acts. The President further issues Directives, which have legal status.
A draft law is first considered by the House of Representatives and then sent to the Council of the Republic, where it is either approved by majority of votes, or is deemed adopted if within 20 days the Council fails to consider it. If the draft law is rejected by the Council, both chambers may form a conciliation commission to overcome differences. A draft law adopted by both Chambers of the National Assembly is submitted to the President, who either signs the draft law or returns it with objections to the House of Representatives. After both chambers have resolved the President’s objections, it is signed by the President within five days. The bill is published in the “National Register of the Legal Acts of the Republic of Belarus”.