Three demands of the opposition: Is Ukraine’s government ready to fulfill them?

Author : Yaroslav Konoshchuk

Source : 112 Ukraine

The protesters near the Verkhovna Rada demand to create Anti-Corruption court, change the voting system, and remove parliamentary immunity
13:46, 19 October 2017

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Removal of immunity: possible, but rather problematic

Tuesday, October 17, the presidential bill on the removal of parliamentary immunity was registered in the parliament. The head of state proposed to deprive deputies of the next convocation of the parliament of immunity. Why Poroshenko introduced the bill right now? Our sources in coalition factions note that the head of state took advantage of the situation and "realized the demands of the people." MPs from the opposition add that in such a way Poroshenko wants to reduce the degree of discontent or disaffection among the population.

The parliamentary majority is ready to support Poroshenko’s initiative. Leader of the Popular Front faction Maksym Burbak came out for this idea. A similar position is expressed by Bloc of Petro Poroshenko.

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The opposition, which promotes the removal of immunity as one of the requirements, supports this idea. It notes that the introducing responsibility for libel carries risks for people's deputies, since libel can potentially be criminalized. And some deputies from the opposition do not afraid to oppose the initiative.

Profile committee of the parliament recommended that Verkhovna Rada send to the Constitutional Court president’s bill and an alternative one to amend the Constitution regarding the removal of immunity.

Anti-Corruption court: very doubtful

But the prospect of the Anti-Corruption Court is still very vague. It is worth recalling that the creation of the Anti-Corruption Court is stipulated in the Memorandum signed with the IMF. According to the representative of the president in the parliament Iryna Lutsenko, Petro Poroshenko urges deputies to create a working group to work out a draft law on the Anticorruption Court, but notes that the head of state is ready to introduce an agreed version. Her colleague, People's Deputy Serhiy Alekseev notes that the opposition should withdraw its bill on the Anticorruption Court before the introduction of the presidential initiative. People's Front took a similar position. However, MPs are not skeptical about the creation of the Anti-Corruption Court.

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"The work on creating an Anticorruption Court is just an imitation, just a political game," deputies from the coalition factions told.

MPs from the opposition generally support the creation of the Anti-Corruption Court, but they have some doubts about positive solution of this issue.

"On a good day, they would vote for the removal of immunity in the first reading, no one is interested in creating an Anti-Corruption Court," one of our interlocutors from the opposition said.

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Elimination of simple plurality system: mission impossible

A chance of holding elections only on party lists is very-very small. It should be noted that to date, five bills and even a draft electoral code have been submitted to the parliament. People's Front has publicly supported the voting on open lists.


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“People's Front is for open lists. Nevertheless, let us remind all factions that actively campaigned for the bill on electoral legislation in local elections, about how elections were held in 2015. According to this law, many districts have not received a single deputy. For example, in Chernivtsi, in the district where I live, there is no deputy, because this bill is useless," said the head of People's Front faction Maksym Burbak.

Bloc of Petro Poroshenko is also skeptical about changing the electoral system, hinting that the first-past-the-post voting system should be retained. Its members stress that the change in the electoral system would not ensure the quality of the next parliament.

Representatives of the coalition unofficially note that while statements about the need to change the electoral system are nothing more than just statements. According to the interrogated deputies, preliminary work is already underway to schedule deputies for the districts.

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