Parliament's top five issues postponed for the autumn 2018

Author : Yaroslav Konoshchuk

Source : 112 Ukraine

Ukraine's Verkhovna Rada went on the seven-week vacations. Let us recall the parliamentary issues that have not been resolved and postponed until the autumn
09:30, 17 July 2018

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The Verkhovna Rada

Central Election Commission (CEC) members re-appointment

The terms of office of CEC members have long expired. The fourth year of promises, mutual accusations, and even persuasions on the part of European partners… And it looks like the main political players, Bloc of Petro Poroshenko (BPP) and National Front, do not need the re-appointment of the CEC. First, the president of Ukraine submits a list according to which the overwhelming majority of future members belong to his sphere of influence, ignoring the candidates from all the other political factions. The result was obvious - the vote did not take place.

Months of new negotiations, and now a new presentation of Poroshenko, which included 14 people, among whom were representatives of deputy groups. However, it seemed that this was a hidden additional quota of the Bloc of Petro Poroshenko. Now, friends-rivals from the National Front faction are not satisfied. They decided to postpone the early parliamentary elections. Some people say that President’s friend Igor Kononenko and People's Deputy Olexandr Tretyakov persuaded the head of state to dissolve the parliament and go to early elections. Thus he might have got rid of the "National Front soldiers" who are unlikely to get into the new parliament, and also bargain with the new first person of the country. But they did not want to go to early elections for the National Front understands the whole situation. According to sources in the coalition factions, National Front announced its claims to the leading post in the CEC.

Related: Is it possible to fight corruption in Ukraine?

At the end of the eighth session, parliamentarians made a third try with the CEC. The pro-presidential faction has even sacrificed one of its candidates for the position of a commission member, but the "National Front soldiers" were adamant. Although even in the pro-presidential faction they unofficially admitted that the CEC issue was voted on exclusively nominally. And the candidates for positions in the Central Election Commission did not even come to the parliament. BPP shifts responsibility to the "partners." Like, the NF cannot figure out who will represent them to the CEC. "There are three centers of influence, and each one is promoting its own policy. Our team has publicly shown that it supports the renewal of the CEC, and the whole problem is in the National Front," the interlocutor notes, adding that four members actually make up the quota of the Fatherland faction, hinting that the NF is playing a giveaway with the Tymoshenko ’s party. Fatherland has publicly announced support for the renovation of the CEC. Other political forces in this war have come to the fore.

Related: Law on creation of Anti-Corruption Court comes into force in Ukraine

The Electoral Code is still a dream of its creators

Another issue was the renewal of electoral legislation for elections to the Verkhovna Rada. The leaders of the parliamentary factions have repeatedly emphasized on the need to abandon the current mixed electoral system and switch to elections by open lists. As a result, the electoral code, elaborated by Parliament Speaker Andriy Parubiy and a group of people's deputies appeared in the session hall; it calls for voting on open lists and excludes self-nomination of the candidates. In November 2017, the efforts of the head of the parliament, the embassies of the G-7 countries, and a fortunate opportunity made it possible to adopt the document in the first reading. However, since that time, the code has been “frozen” in the profile committee on justice issues, and quite a few people's deputies are already working hard in the districts, preparing for the parliamentary elections.

Parliament Speaker Andriy Parubiy continues to count on holding elections to the Verkhovna Rada on the basis of a proportional system. According to sources in the National Front faction, this issue was raised during the visit of the head of parliament to the United States.

During the final press conference, Parubiy has expressed his hope for the adoption of the bill in October. However, he admits that it would be difficult to find the votes under to adopt the bill. I wonder how much the US would lobby this question.

Related: Parliament was recommended to adopt bill on Anti-Corruption Court

Parliamentary immunity cannot last forever

The abolition of parliamentary immunity has been an indispensable attribute of the election campaigns. President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko publicly advocates this idea. He suggests to abolish it from the next convocation. The opposition seems to be in favor of the immediate abolition of deputy immunity. However, when it comes to voting, the question is usually postponed. This time the profile committee of the Verkhovna Rada decided to finalize the draft laws on the abolition of immunity since the Constitutional Court pointed to certain risks after the liquidation of parliamentary immunity. At the same time, Parliament Speaker Parubiy continues to count on the abolition of immunity until the end of the cadence of the current Rada.

Cheap cars with a pre-election flavor

Another theme of the election campaign, which can be developed this fall by the parliament, would be excised rates reduction for the cars with foreign license plates and new cars. Before the parliamentary holidays, the deputies have supported the bill on reducing excise rates on new and used cars (in the first reading), according to which more than a twofold reduction in excise is expected. This was preceded by numerous protests and rallies under the parliament, who demanded cheap customs clearance of used cars from the EU countries.

Promotion of this idea is explained by the election and struggle for this segment of the electorate between the supporters of President Poroshenko and businessman Igor Kolomoisky, whose surroundings were associated with protests.

Related: How to resolve the "Euro-car plates" issue in Ukraine

Personnel perturbations – running on empty

The parliamentarians have also postponed the personnel disassembly. As we remember, the BPP faction has been promoting the idea of creating a ministry for veterans and even offered Iryna Friz (close to the head of the state person) for this post. However, Prime Minister Groysman does not submit an introduction to the parliament, arguing that this is not an agreed candidate.

In addition, parliamentarians cannot decide on a full-fledged Minister of Healthcare, Minister of Agrarian Policy, Minister of Informational Policy, and Minister of Finance. Prime Minister Groysman hinted that the acting ministers do their job well, so maybe the new ministers would not be appointed before the 2019 elections.

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