The Soviet Union has published a draft constitution creating a new post of First Deputy President in a move seen as clearing the way for Communist Party chief, Mr.
The Soviet Union has published a draft constitution creating a new post of First Deputy President in a move seen as clearing the way for Communist Party chief, Mr. Leonid Brezhnev to assume the Presidency as well. The draft document issued on Saturday (4 June) also recognises the Communist Party as the guiding force in all spheres of Soviet life.
SYNOPSIS: This represents a major departure from the existing constitution, adopted in 1936. Mr. Brezhnev is reportedly keen to take on the presidency, together with his job as secretary-general of the party, to give him greater prestige and regularise his position in dealing with foreign heads of state.
Soviet citizens have shown a great deal of interest in the new constitution, which will be the subject of five months of public debate before it is passed into law in October. It creates a new post of First Deputy President, who is expected to take over much of the routine work of the President. Altogether 27 articles will be added to the original 146 written under the guidance of Josef Stalin.
The new draft places individual liberties second to the "interests of society and the State". It lists a large number of fundamental civil rights such as freedom of speech, religion and the press, but appears to set tight statutory limits on how a Soviet citizen can exercise those rights.