Plan and quotas: Ukraine's govt wants to restrict legislative rights of MPs?

Author : Mykyta Sinitsyn

Source : 112 Ukraine

The current convocation of the Verkhovna Rada during a year of its work adopted 263 bills out of the proposed 2,145 (efficiency is 12.2%)
21:24, 10 November 2020


Deputy speaker of the Verkhovna Rada Ruslan Stefanchuk acknowledged the powerlessness of the "green" government in lawmaking. The current convocation of the Verkhovna Rada during a year of its work adopted 263 bills out of the proposed 2,145 (efficiency is 12.2%), only the work of the parliament of the VII convocation could be called worse, in 2012-2014 it adopted 312 laws out of 3890 proposed (efficiency 8%).

The declared "low executive discipline," "a critically small number of professional drafters of draft laws and high-quality draft laws" raise questions to the authorities themselves, why laws in Ukraine are not enforced or why professionals are not involved in the development of draft laws, at least from Servant of the People.

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The authorities propose the development of a new strategy for legislative work, which is supposed to be based on strategic documents such as the program of the President of Ukraine, the National Economic Strategy 2030, the program of the Servant of the People party, the program and action plan of the Cabinet.

These plans are very optimistic because the program of the Servant of the People party is quite amorphous and in its economic part, for example, it offers just a set of common phrases and good wishes, which were many in the history of Ukraine.

The national economic strategy is also not something new in the history of Ukraine, each government accepts such, and it happens that more than once, that is, they, as a rule, "live" only until the change of government, or even the Cabinet, which developed it...

As for the government's action program, it is enough to recall the previous Cabinet of Ministers of Oleksiy Honcharuk, whose program was adopted on September 30, 2019, and on March 4, the prime minister resigned, without completing his year, for which he received "immunity" with the adoption of the action program Cabinet of Ministers.

But the formation of priorities for the strategy of legislative work of the Verkhovna Rada, which, according to Ruslan Stefanchuk, should make lawmaking more effective, raises more questions.

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In particular, it is planned to introduce an annual plan for the adoption of bills, which would take into account the real possibilities of the Verkhovna Rada, the Cabinet of Ministers and other bodies to work with them, to which Stefanchuk refers to 250 bills that are basic for the work of parliament.

Separately, Ruslan Stefanchuk spoke about some "quotas" that are proposed to be allocated for the adoption of bills that perform specific tasks, such as "reaching a political consensus."

The last point raises the most questions because a quantitative limitation of the number of submitted bills will in itself be unconstitutional, not to mention the actual filling of the "quotas." Will it mean that the parliamentary majority will receive a large "quota" for submitting their own bills? And won't the opposition's rights to present an alternative point of view suffer as a result?

According to political scientist Volodymyr Fesenko, the statement by Ruslan Stefanchuk could be interpreted in at least two forms - personal and legislative.

Last year Ruslan Stefanchuk was rightfully considered and was the main ideologist of legislative work in the presidential team, which is facilitated by the fact that he is an experienced lawyer, doctor of science. To date, his role and influence within the team has somewhat decreased. And against the background of the difficult situation within both the Servant of the People and the President's team after the local elections and the controversial decision of the Constitutional Court, Stefanchuk clearly decided to return to this role again, counting, if not to strengthen his positions, then at least to retain them.

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As for the legislative component of the strategy, voiced by the first deputy head of the Verkhovna Rada, Volodymyr Fesenko says that the need for such steps is ripe, but it is necessary to clarify what Stefanchuk had in mind.

“The meaning of the term quotas in relation to legislative initiatives of the parliament is not entirely clear; rather, one should speak of structuring the right of legislative initiative. For example, many countries of developed democracies have long limited the right to legislative initiative of individual deputies. Usually, the right to submit bills is vested in party factions, parliamentary groups, or a certain number of deputies. Actually, this proposal was recommended by the parliamentary reform commission, which has been working since the last convocation of the Verkhovna Rada, together with the European Parliament, and if Ruslan Stefanchuk had this in mind, such an initiative could improve the work of the Verkhovna Rada,” the expert says about the possible correct interpretation of Stefanchuk's statement.

At the same time, according to Volodymyr Fesenko, the chances of accepting such restrictions are rather low.

"In order to restrict the right to legislative initiative, it is necessary to make changes to the Constitution, since they are enshrined in the Basic Law, that is, 300 votes of parliamentarians are needed. we are sure how it will affect their work and whether they will be offered to change the order of their work tomorrow," he says about the difficult task facing the implementation of Stefanchuk's plans.

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Political scientist Oleksiy Yakubin is cautious about Ruslan Stefanchuk's proposal, saying that there is a classic discrepancy between good wishes in words and real deeds.

The first problem is the duality of the standards of the president's team itself. The second challenge that the declared legislative strategy will face is the process of its adoption.

"A simple adoption of the next law is not enough – it will be necessary to amend the Constitution, if we are talking about limiting the subjects of legislative initiative, of course, the deputies will perceive this as an attack on their rights, because now the number of bills is not limited in any way, we are talking about limiting the number of proposed In this regard, it would be more correct if the limitation of the number of laws is tested, say, within the Servant of the People faction itself - that is, the members of the faction will voluntarily limit the number of bills they submit. legislative law, and the authorities, not in words, but in deeds, will prove that they are acting in the common interests and are ready to limit themselves," says Oleksiy Yakubin.

Therefore, there is every chance that this presentation would remain just a beautiful picture, which would be forgotten in a few days. It is unlikely that the limitation of the legislative initiative of the loved ones is one of those.

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