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Coalition collapse and early parliamentary elections - could it happen in Ukraine?

Author : Volodymyr Pylypenko

Could the extraordinary elections of deputies become a reality? Well, this question has a clear legal answer
21:06, 17 April 2019

Moment of silence in Ukraine's Parliament
censor.net.ua

During the presidential election campaign, some experts and politicians are beginning to say that after the election of a new president on April 21, 2019, there is a risk of early dissolution of parliament.

Basically, all the arguments are reduced to the fact that the coalition in the current Verkhovna Rada is too weak, it lacks votes, and if the current president is not reelected for a second term, then coalition is more likely to cease to exist.

Could the extraordinary elections of deputies become a reality? Well, this question has a clear legal answer.

As a general rule, the parliament is elected for a five-year term, and the powers of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine are terminated on the day of the opening of a new convocation first meeting.

However, according to Art. 90 of the Constitution of Ukraine, if within one month a coalition of factions in the Verkhovna Rada is not formed, then the president really has the right to early terminate its powers.

The main law provides for a kind of "preventer" against manipulation. In particular, the powers of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine cannot be terminated ahead of time by the President in the last six months of the term of Verkhovna Rada or the President of Ukraine.

Here it is important to find out when the last six months of the powers of the current parliament end. This is a fundamental point.

Let me remind you that the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine of the 8th convocation was elected in October 26, 2014. Its first meeting took place on November 27, 2014, and at the same time the powers of the previous parliament were suspended.

According to Art. 77 of the Constitution of Ukraine, regular parliamentary elections are held on the last Sunday of October of the fifth year of power of the Verkhovna Rada. That is, if everything goes according to plan, then the next parliamentary elections will be held on October 27, 2019.

Articles 98 and 99 of the Law of Ukraine “On elections of MPs of Ukraine” state that the CEC establishes the results of elections of MPs in the national and single-mandate constituencies no later than the fifteenth day from the voting day. This should happen no later than November 11, 2019.

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In addition, Art. 100 of the above law provides that the CEC no later than on the fifth day after the establishment of the election results officially publishes the results of the elections in the Holos Ukrainy and Uryadovy Kuryer newspapers.

Such official disclosure should take place no later than November 16, 2019.

According to Art. 82 of the Constitution of Ukraine, the Verkhovna Rada meets for the first session no later than the thirtieth day after the official announcement of the election results.

Thus, the first meeting of the 9th convocation of parliament and the simultaneous termination of the powers of the 8th Ukrainian parliament shall take place no later than December 16, 2019.

Of course, the CEC can summarize the voting sooner, and the first meeting of the newly elected parliament can also be held earlier. However, the deadline for organizing such a meeting is defined in the Constitution.

Given this, the last six months of the parliamentary powers should be counted from June 16, 2019.

Theoretically, the inauguration of the newly elected president may take place in Ukraine by this time, and the coalition of parliamentary factions may de facto not exist.

However, with the cessation of the functioning of the coalition de jure, there are certain nuances. This situation is not so simple.

To date, legal relations regarding the functioning of the coalition are regulated only in the Constitution of Ukraine.

Previously defined norms were in the Rules of the Verkhovna Rada, but such provisions were declared unconstitutional.

Therefore, a clearly stipulated moment with which the termination of the coalition functioning should be linked and from which the monthly term to create a new majority in parliament should be counted, is not established in the current legislation.

Art. 27 of the Verkhovna Rada Regulations determine that the powers of the chairperson of the plenary session include the announcement of official messages. Accordingly, the dissolution of the coalition should also be officially announced during the parliament session.

In the absence of such a declaration, a de jure coalition will exist. Even when in its structure there will be fewer MPs then the number stipulated by the Constitution of Ukraine.

As we see, it is much easier to declare the collapse of the coalition and the dissolution of the parliament than to translate it into reality, adhering to the current legislation of Ukraine. Although in our Ukrainian realities anything can happen. As they say, here the laws exist in order to skillfully circumvent them.

So we could just hope that the Constitution is not an empty word for our political elites and the future head of state.

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