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Zelensky v. Constitutional Court: Temporary truce?

Author : Viktor Ruzhynsky

Source : 112 Ukraine

Zelensky needs to dismantle Poroshenko's system, and the Constitutional Court is one of those bastions that cannot be easily taken since the law does not allow the president to dismiss Constitutional Court judges
21:10, 5 November 2020

President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky
Official website of the President of Ukraine

Surely, many watched the last fiery speech of President Volodymyr Zelensky on one of the Ukrainian TV channels. The head of state and a pool of "tame" experts "discussed" how to convince society of the need to disperse the Constitutional Court. And a few hours before that, Zelensky convinced his own MPs of this, threatening them with the dissolution of parliament. It seemed that the constitutional crisis in the country was inevitable. However, we live in Ukraine, and in our country, one should not make hasty conclusions – sometimes politicians manage to settle even the fiercest war with peace overnight. Or, at the very least, sign a temporary truce.

Related: Judge of Constitutional Court publishes draft decision on interpretation of land norm

In Ukraine, it is unusual to observe graters between the branches of government, if personal interests are clearly not traced in them. Moreover, the situation was surprising when the President’s Office declared a public war on the Constitutional Court over the declaration law. Well, seriously, because of the declaration? Surely this conflict has deeper roots. Not the least role here is played by the fact that the current government has no real influence on the Constitutional Court, and this is fraught with unfavorable decisions that the court can make on important issues. You can recall how Zelensky told the head of the Constitutional Court about the "red lines" in relation to the language law, which cannot be crossed. Usually, such conversations are made public, when it is impossible to come to an agreement behind the scenes and you have to play ahead of the game, flirting with public opinion. Zelensky needs to dismantle the Poroshenko system, and the Constitutional Court is one of those bastions that cannot be easily taken since the law does not allow the president to dismiss Constitutional Court judges.

Did Zelensky know this when he submitted to the Rada bill No. 4288, which deprives the judges of the Constitutional Court of their powers and restore the law on a declaration that they had canceled? Obviously yes. Why was it done if it's illegal? To state the position publicly. Typical flirting with a public opinion without regard to legislative consequences.

Related: Decision on land reform not made yet, - Ukraine’s Constitutional Court

When it became obvious that it was “too much”, the President's Office tried to shift the responsibility for the dispersal of the Constitutional Court to the Verkhovna Rada. But the MPs mutinied. Zelensky’s faction refused to vote for the deliberately unconstitutional decision. Zelensky's threats to dissolve the Rada do not scare anyone. By this decision, he will only make it worse for himself. And he himself understands this because in reality no dissolution was even planned.

Verkhovna Rada Speaker Dmytro Razumkov, who is very cautious and usually keeps away from political showdowns, agreed to register a bill very similar to the one introduced by Zelensky. By the way, the Main Scientific and Expert Directorate of the Verkhovna Rada declared it unconstitutional.

Zelensky managed to get neither the support of his own faction, nor the consent of Western partners, nor even unanimous public support (which is very important for the sixth president). Therefore, the President's Office offered a peace treaty.

Instead of the terrible law on the dispersal of judges of the Constitutional Court, we saw a pathetic appeal by a group of MPs to the judges of the Constitutional Court with an appeal to voluntarily resign. Sounds like outright mockery. After all, it is obvious that no one is going to go anywhere. This is a typical attempt to keep a pretty face. And not the face of the Verkhovna Rada. President. Who in the heat of the moment broke firewood, promising what in the end he could not fulfill.

Related: Constitutional Court judges who voted against decision on anti-corruption law not to work for now

Well, President Zelensky is incapable of "banging" the Constitutional Court. It seems that this has become obvious to everyone. This is good because at least some system of checks and balances is working in the country. On the other hand, Zelensky showed his weakness with this attack with a saber bald. The officials received a signal - the Office of the President is not so terrible as it puffs out its cheeks. And even the fact that the Constitutional Court decided not to make a decision on the language law, as if taking a conciliatory step in response, does not in any way strengthen the position of the President’s Office in this confrontation. The language law is still suspended, but there is also a land law. On any of them, the Constitutional Court can make a negative decision. And it's not a fact that public opinion will be on the side of the president if he decides to deal with the Constitutional Court in revenge. Trumps are in the hands of the court. Although the truce will benefit all parties to the conflict. And the country as a whole.

Related: MPs files statement to Constitutional Court with urge on judges’ withdrawal

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