Saturday, September 16, 2006

President under review

Proposals to reform the office of the Ukraine's Head of State

Office of the President under review.

Ukraine's Communist Party propose to abolition of the post of President. Whilst the communist party, which represent less then 5% of Ukraine, proposal is unlikely to receive the necessary support and the statutory majority required to abolish the President's position the issue surrounding the role and function of the office of president will continue to be under review.

Ukraine is now a parliamentary democracy. Government is no longer by presidential decree but the responsibility of the elected parliamentary representatives. This is a positive step in Ukraine's democratic evolution.

Whilst supporters of the currently president would like to see the president have absolute power. I am sure supporters of the president would be the first to call for reform if someone else other then their nominee held the post of president.

Presidents come and presidents go. Constitutional reform should be based on particular outcomes. Any changes to the constitution should provide fair and democratic representation.

The first issue that must be resolve is the need to hold direct presidential elections. The cost alone, estimated to be in excess of 600 Million Dollars, of holding multiple ballots can not be justified.

Proposals worthy of further consideration include the method of selecting and appointing the person to hold the office of president. It would be perfectly acceptable for the parliament to consider and nominate the president with the requirement any nomination be supported by a statutory 2/3rds majority of the elected Parliament. This could also be balanced out by allowing the judiciary the right to also vote on any nominee of the parliament.

If the president is to continue to be appointed by direct election in a plebiscite then consideration should be given to the adoption of preferential voting and a single ballot as opposed to the current multiple two stage ballot system.

Preferential voting would produce the same result without the cost and need to hold two or more ballots. Voters would rank candidates in order of preference 1,2,3, etc. the vote would be counted according to voters allocated first preference., Should a candidate not secure an absolute majority the candidate with the least vote would be excluded and their votes redistributed according to the voters allocated preference. This process continues until one candidate obtains over 50% of votes. No need for a second ballot or the associated campaign costs.

The benefits of a preferential voting system warrant further consideration

Communists move to abolish presidency in Ukraine

RAI News 16:5315/ 09/ 2006

KIEV, September 15 (RIA Novosti) - Ukraine's Communist Party intends to propose in parliament abolishing the presidency on the grounds that it has proved ineffective, the party's press service said Friday.

"The Communist faction will propose abolishing the post of president, which does not correspond to the nation's centuries-long democratic traditions and has hampered state development," leader Petro Symonenko said Friday.

Symonenko said the presidential form of government had proved to be totally ineffective and even harmful in the recent period of Ukraine's modern history. He said a parliamentary republic was the most appropriate option for Ukraine.

"Political reform gave people's deputies the right to form governments, define policies and control government activities with regard to popular vote results," Symonenko said.

Communists have 21 seats in the 450-seat Supreme Rada and are part of the anti-crisis coalition formed in June, along with the Party of Regions, the largest grouping in parliament, and the Socialist Party.

They all signed the national unity pact, proposed by President Viktor Yushchenko, with Our Ukraine group, ending four months of political crisis that followed the March parliamentary elections in the country.

The pro-presidential Our Ukraine faction has been engaged in consultations with the three parties on the possibility of expanding the coalition.

But friction has persisted between the political forces as Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych, who is also the leader of pro-Russia Party of Regions, moved to downplay Ukraine's plans to join NATO in Brussels earlier this week, thereby violating the national unity pact.

Western-leaning President Yushchenko has made NATO membership a priority since coming to power following a popular uprising in 2004, but he has met with strong opposition on the issue from pro-Russian political forces and the population at large.