Monday, April 30, 2007

Political Corruption in Ukraine's Highest Office Threatens Ukraine's Democracy

Ukraine's President, Viktor Yushchenko, in a highly controversial act, removed from office one of Ukraine's Constitutional Court Judges.

The Constitutional Court is currently considering an appeal against the President's decree dismissing Ukraine's democratically elected parliament.

The President's removal from office of one of the judges reviewing his decree raises serious concerns of possible corruption and subjects the Office of the President to allegations that the President's actions were politically motivated and direct interference in the decision and determination of Ukraine's Constitutional Court.

Yevhen Zakharov, spokesperson from the Kharkiv Human Rights Organisation ,in a recent interview with UkraineToday said that

One of the identified problems with Ukraine's judicial system is the concern that Constitutional Court Judges are paid monthly 60000 UAH (Approximately US$12,000) substantially large salaries by Ukrainian standards. The ability for a Judge to be replaced at will subjects the court to undue political pressure and leaves the court open to allegations of political corruption. This situation would not be allowed or tolerated in any other western democracy.

Constitutional Court judges are appointed for a nine year term of office and are protected from unfair dismissal by the provisions of Ukraine's Constitution Chapter VIII Articles 126, 127 and Chapter XII)

The President's decision to remove one of the judges has the potential of influencing the outcome of the Constitutional Court's ruling on the President's decree and the appeal by the Parliamentary majority and seriously undermines confidence in Ukraine's judicial system and the Office of the President.

Update: UNIAN 2nd May, 2007
Syuzanna Stanik: The president`s decree of 1 May dismissing her lacks the observance of a necessary procedure, according to the law on the Constitutional Court and the court`s procedures, the issue of breaching the oath should first be considered by a special commission which should forward its conclusions to the Supreme Council.

Ukraine parliament cries foul as Yushchenko sacks high court judge

Tuesday 01 May 2007
Source: Jurnalo

Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko sacked a judge on the country's high court, a move attacked by the parliament majority as unconstitutional, according to Tuesday news reports.An executive order published on the presidential website Monday evening relieved judge Valery Pshenichny, a justice on the 18-member supreme constitutional court, from his court position "for extensive violations in procedure . and violation of his oath. "

The constitutional court currently is reviewing the legality of Yuschenko's April 2 order dissolving parliament. The legislature, led by Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovich, has continued to meet in defiance of the order.

Legal officials in the Yushchenko administration criticised Pshenichny earlier this month for talking to media about the case.

Political analysts believe the court to be closely balanced between supporters of Yushchenko and Yanukovich. By constitutional statute the President appoints six members of the court, parliament another six members and an independent judicial council the last six members.

Pshenichny was appointed in 2003 by Yushchenko's predecessor Leonid Kuchma and is a likely supporter of Yanukovich's pro-Russia policies, Ukrainska Pravda magazine reported.

"This step by the president has the goal of stopping work of the constitutional court, the only organ capable of resolving the constitutional basis of relations between the branches of power," Yanukovich said, in a statement published on his party web site.

"We resolutely protest . this illegal measure by the president . and call on Ukrainian citizens and world society to bring an end to such actions," the statement said.

Reaction by parliament on Tuesday was slow in coming, in part, because May 1 is a national holiday on Ukraine.

Ukrainan legal authorities were divided on whether the president could sack a high court deputy and appoint another to a particular case. Yushchenko's office was on Tuesday not commenting on possible nominees to replace Pshenichny.

Parliament on Monday muddied the constitutional waters as well, passing a law scheduling parliamentary and Presidential elections for December.

Yushchenko's April 2 order originally set elections only for parliament on May 27, but in a later order the pro-Europe politician changed the date to June 24. He has refused even to consider Presidential elections before the end of his five-year term in 2009.

Long accused of doing little to stand up to an increasingly assertive pro-Russia majority in parliament, Yushchenko since the beginnning of April has taken the offensive, using presidential order and frank threat to challenge Yanukovich's ruling coalition.

Ukraine's secret police, the SBU, a spy agency thought to be loyal to Yushchenko, in early April sensationally accused constitutional court justice Susana Stanik of accepting up to 12 million dollars in bribes, in exchange for her support to Yanukovich's side in the parliament dissolution dispute.

Stanik, while admitting her mother-in-law recently received as gifts a pair of Kiev apartments and other benefits from the Yanukovich government worth millions, has repeatedly denied the property transfers would have an effect on her fair judgement of the president-parliament dispute.

Mykola Poludeny, a top Yushchenko legal advisor, in a Monday evening interview on the Channel Five television station repeated the allegations against Stanik, telling viewers Yushchenko was preparing to remove her from the court as well.

Stanik, like the sacked Pshenichny, was appointed to the high court by Yushchenko's predecessor.


Ukraine's Parliament Calls for Fresh Presidential and Parliamentary Elections

The ongoing power struggle between Ukraine's President, Viktor Yushchenko, and the parliamentary governing majority continues unabated with the Parliament today passing a resolution calling for the holding of fresh presidential and parliamentary elections to be held no later then December 2007.

This move comes following the President's second decree issued on April 26, which annulled the fist decree made on April 2. The President has once again decreed that Ukraine's democratically elected parliament be dismissed for the second time. The President is seeking fresh parliamentary elections to be held on June 24.

160 members of parliament have lodge an urgent appeal in Ukraine's Constitutional Court claiming that the President's second decree is also unconstitutional in that it does not comply with the provisions of Ukraine's Constitution and that the President has exceeded his authority in dismissing Ukraine's democratically elected Parliament. Ukraine's current Parliament was elected in March 2006 in what was universally recognized as being a fair and democratic election.

The existing Governing coalition was formed in July 2007 following the collapse of the Orange coalition at the beginning of July 2006.

Opposition party discipline

The President has expressed his concern that a number of politicians belong to his own party "Our Ukraine" and that of Bloc Yulia Tymoschenko have crossed the floor to support the governing coalition. Yushchenko is calling for fresh parliamentary elections in order to restore party discipline within his own party and that of the opposition.

There are a number of legal questions surrounding the President's decree not the least being that Ukraine's constitution does not and is not responsible for the maintaining party discipline and support within the various political groupings.

The Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly (PACE)

On April 19, PACE adopted a report and passed a number of resolutions pertaining to the current Ukrainian political crisis.

The European Assembly in particular criticized the "Imperative mandate" provisions of Ukraine's Constitution stating it was not the norm of a democratic society or the role of a countries constitution to enforce party solidarity.

Imperative mandate

It is the Imperative mandate provisions that the President of Ukraine is trying to rely on in his determination to dismiss Ukraine's Parliament and prevent the Government from receiving a constitutional majority of the elected parliament. PACE called on Ukraine to scape the Imperative Mandate provisions from Ukraine's constitution and for all parties to abide by the ruling of Ukraine's Constitutional Court.

President's second decree

The President's second decree, cancelling his first decree, was seen as a tactic adopted by the President to try and avoid Judicial review of his first decree by Ukraine's Constitutional Court.

If Ukraine's Constitutional Court ruled that his decree was unconstitutional and as such illegal then the president would have been under considerable pressure to resign. By cancelling his first decree the President hopes to provide cause for the Court to abandon its original hearing and having to start over again, prolonging and exacerbating the current political constitutional crisis.

Parliamentary and Presidential elections

The Government in response to this latest maneuver by the President has called for the president to face the people of Ukraine in joint Parliamentary and Presidential elections to be held later this year.

President fronts Opposition Rally

During the weekend the president fronted a political rally organized by the parliamentary opposition in support of fresh parliamentary elections. The President rejected the proposal of holding fresh Presidential in conjunction with fresh Parliamentary elections.

Viktor Yushchenko has been criticized for his public stance citing that his attendance and participation in the oppositions political rally has compromised the office of the President who is supposed to act in the best interest of all of Ukraine and not just his political party who is also part of the opposition forces.


Sunday, April 29, 2007

Ukraine's most trusted and distrusted Politicians

A recent opinion poll by Sotsis social and political study centre shows that Ukraine's Prime Minister, Viktor Yanukovych (45%), is the most trusted politician 13 percentage points above Ukraine's President, Viktor Yushchenko (32%), and 12 percentage points ahead of Yulia Tymoshenko (33%).

Source: Interfax




Saturday, April 28, 2007

President in Wonderland. "Sentence first-verdict afterwards"

"Call the next witness!" said the King.

Alice watched the White Rabbit as he fumbled over the list, feeling very curious to see what the next witness would be like, "for they haven't got much evidence yet," she said to herself. Imagine her surprise when the White Rabbit read out, at the top of his shrill little voice, the name "Alice!"

"Here!" cried Alice, quite forgetting in the flurry of the moment how large she had grown in the last few minutes, and she jumped up in such a hurry that she tipped over the jury-box with the edge of her skirt, upsetting all the jurymen on to the heads of the crowd below, and there they lay sprawling about, reminding her very much of a globe of gold-fish she had accidentally upset the week before.

"Oh, I beg your pardon!" she exclaimed in a tone of great dismay, and began picking them up again as quickly as she could.

As soon as the jury had a little recovered from the shock of being upset, and their slates and pencils had been found and handed back to them, they set to work very diligently to write out a history of the accident, all except the Lizard, who seemed too much overcome to do anything but sit with its mouth open, gazing up into the roof.

"What do you know about this business?" the King said to Alice.

"Nothing," said Alice.

"Nothing whatever?" persisted the King.

"Nothing whatever," said Alice.

"That's very important," the King said, turning to the jury. They were just beginning to write this down on their slates, when the White Rabbit interrupted.

"Unimportant, your Majesty means, of course," he said, in a very respectful tone, but frowning and making faces at him.

"Unnimportant, of course, I meant," the King hastily said, and went on to himself in an undertone, "important-unimportant-unimportant- important-" as if he were trying which word sounded best.

Presently the King, who had been for some time busily writing in his notebook, called out "Silence!" and he read out from his book, "Rule Forty-two. All persons more than a mile high to leave the court."

Everybody looked at Alice.

"I'm not a mile high," said Alice.

"You are," said the King.

"Nearly two miles high," added the Queen.

"Well, I shan't go, at any rate," said Alice. "Besides, that's not a regular rule; you invented it just now."

"It's the oldest rule in the book," said the King.

"Then it ought to be Number One," said Alice.

The King turned pale, and shut his notebook hastily. "Consider your verdict," he said to the jury, in a low, trembling voice.

"No, no!" said the Queen. "Sentence first-verdict afterwards."

"Stuff and nonsense!" said Alice loudly. "The idea of having the sentence first!"

"Hold your tongue!" said the Queen.

"I won't!" said Alice.

"Off with her head!" the Queen shouted at the top of her voice. Nobody moved.

"Who cares for you?" said Alice (she had grown to her full size by this time). "You're nothing but a pack of cards!"


Big Enders and Little Enders - Idelogical Difference

Commentary by Oleksandr Shepotylo
Ukrainian Observer

Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift is one of my favorite books. It has many allusions to the political situation in 18th century Europe described in a genre of political satire. One of the major themes in the book is the so-called egg dispute between the Lilliputians who preferred cracking open their soft-boiled eggs from the little end, and Blefuscans who preferred cracking the big end.

Deep ideological differences between Big-Enders and Little-Enders even led the countries into war against each other. Lilliputians and Blefuscans could have benefited greatly by ending the war and engaging in free trade to their mutual benefit.

However, the issue that was irrelevant for economic development plagued their relationships and considerably reduced potential for economic growth and prosperity. The seemingly ridiculous and artificial example of the egg dispute illustrates a very deep problem faced by many nations over and over again: ideological differences often prevent political parties from reaching a consensus over mutually beneficial economic policies.

By using this example, Jonathan Swift satirized the animosity between Catholics and Protestants to illustrate how 'trivial' matters often spoiled the relationships between two nations - England and France - and slowed down their economic development.

My task here is to explain how economists view this problem and how, in my opinion, the current political and economic situation in Ukraine is related to the egg dispute.

Even More:...


Tymoshenko Behind The Scenes

Source: RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty

The current political crisis seems to have been cunningly provoked by his fervent ally in the Orange Revolution, Yuliya Tymoshenko, who helped Yanukovych overcome Yushchenko's veto on the law on the cabinet of ministers and thus goaded Yushchenko into action against Yanukovych. Tymoshenko, for whom there has been no government role following the March 2006 elections, is the actor who most wants early elections and a new political opening.

Sociological surveys indicate that Yanukovych's Party of Regions and Tymoshenko's eponymous bloc are poised to win a new poll and effectively inaugurate a two-party system in Ukraine. For any other country in transition such a situation could be a blessing. For Ukraine -- with Yanukovych's electorate entrenched in the east and the south and Tymoshenko's supporters grouped in the west -- such an election outcome could turn into a nightmare.

For Yushchenko, any resolution of the current standoff does not bode well. If he fails to enforce early elections, he will suffer the humiliation of being marginalized in Ukraine's political arena.

If early elections take place and, as generally expected, the results reinforce the Party of Regions and the Yuliya Tymoshenko Bloc at the expense of Yushchenko's Our Ukraine, his political stature will hardly improve. The time when Yushchenko could impose his will on Ukraine appears to have been lost.


Friday, April 27, 2007

Constitutional Court abandons Court case following cancellation of President's original decree

Update: 28/4/2007. Recent reports have indicated that Ukraine's Constitutional Court has not decided on its actions in respect to its ruling on the President's first decree. It is expected that the Court will make an announcement early next week. Meanwhile 160 Members of Parliament have lodged an appeal against the President's second decree dated April 26 which is also before the Constitutional Court awaiting their consideration.

Ukraine's Constitutional Court has withdrawn consideration of the Government appeal following the President's cancellation of his original April 2 decree dismissing parliament.

The President's has withdrawn his original decree, which was under review by Ukraine's Constitutional Court on appeal by the Government, and has issued a second decree calling for new parliamentary elections to be held on June 24.

The latest move by the President is seen as a means of the President to avoid accountability or ruling by Ukraine's highest court on the legality of his actions. Most political commentators were opinion that the Court was about to rule against the president and declaring his original decree unconstitutional. As the original decree is no longer in force the Constitutional Court can no longer consider the issue.

The Government have lodged a fresh appeal against the president newest decree claiming which will need to be considered a fresh.

Both the President and the Government had earlier agreed to abide by the decision of the Constitutional Court on the question of legality of the president's decree.

The President's actions in seeking to avoid the ruling of the court has only prolong the current political crisis and exacerbated tensions in Ukraine. There was no reason or justification why the president could not have waited until the Court had ruled on his first decree before having acted to reschedule and proposed election.

Meanwhile the government has stepped up its campaign by calling on the president to resign and to face re-election and seek renewal of his mandate by holding joint presidential and parliamentary elections.

It is unlikely that any further compromises will be reached with claims that the president has not acted in good faith or interest of providing stability and rule of law in Ukraine.


Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Ukraine: Election postponed to June 24 following Court ruling

Ukraine to go to the polls on June 14... or maybe not

Viktor Yushchenko has
postponed the holding of elections until June 24, following the ruling from the Constitutional Court preventing elections being held on May 27. Questions surrounding the legality of the president's decree dismissing Ukraine's democratically elected parliament remain in abeyance as Ukraine's Constitutional Court moves into closed session to consider it's ruling.

The status of the original decree is unclear with some commentators suggesting that the President has withdrawn his original decree and has substituted it with a new decree. Others say that the President's latest decree is just clarification and amendment to the original decree.

The governing coalition states that the presidents actions are once again unconstitutional and vowed to continue to fight the ruling in the Constitutional Court.

Both sides to the current political crisis have agreed to abide by the Courts ruling (All except Yulia Tymoshenko). Meanwhile the world waits with no clear indication if the postponed June 24 date will or will not be.


EU Parliament debates Ukrainian Crisis opting for rule of law and neutrality

Ukraine urged to solve its crisis peacefully, but could the EU have done more?

External relations - 25-04-2007 - 18:24

With the political crisis in Ukraine continuing, MEPs discussed the situation with the Council and Commission. While Ukraine is seen as a vital interest of the EU, there was a consensus that the country's politicians must find a solution themselves without outside interference. Some speakers, however, suggested that the EU might have played a more active role in Ukraine's recent political development.

Council and Commission

Opening for the Council, Germany's Federal Minister of State Günther Gloser welcomed this opportunity to debate developments in Ukraine, adding that their importance could not be overstated. Ukraine's 2004 "Orange Revolution" had set an example for other states in the region, he said, but the wrangling required to form a government thereafter had proven very difficult.

In April 2007, President Viktor Yushchenko had sought to dissolve Parliament, which had refused. The case was now before the constitutional court and the Council was in close contact with all the protagonists continued Mr Gloser. If the court could settle the constitutionality issue, then well and good, but political compromises would still be needed, he continued, adding that he welcomed assurances from both sides that violence would not be used to settle disputes. Free and fair elections and a free press are essential to the democratic process and would always have the EU's support, he concluded.

For the Commission, Vladimir Špidla reminded MEPs that negotiations for an expanded co-operation agreement with Ukraine had begun on 5 March and stressed that a solution to the current difficulties must be found. The Commission was especially concerned at the apparent hardening of differences between President Yushchenko and Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych, he added.

"Stability is vital for Ukraine and its future in Europe", he continued, reiterating Commission President José Barroso's statement the previous week that "there is no political problem to which a solution can't be found".

The non-violence of street demonstrations in Ukraine demonstrates that its citizens understand the need to abide by democratic principles and the rule of law - including the independence of the constitutional court - and the Ukraine appears to be developing a "new style of compromise", including "controls on the political system".

"It is not the role of the EU to intervene" in these developments, said the Commissioner, but "we should call on all political forces to work together for compromise [...] we have confidence that Ukraine's young democracy will pass this test".

Since the Orange Revolution and the adoption of the EU/Ukraine action plan, political dialogue and co-operation have intensified, said the Commissioner, citing € 120 million in support under the new European neighbourhood policy, an agreement on visa regulations, and moves to free up trade. Work on the expanded agreement, to which Ukraine is strongly committed, opens up new prospects for co-operation on energy, he added.

"Ukraine is a key partner for the EU, and we are entirely resolved to enhance our relations" concluded Commissioner Špidla.

Political group speakers

On behalf of the EPP-ED group, Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Jacek Saryusz-Wolski (PL) told the House that the crisis in Ukraine is a "matter of concern" to all those who followed the country's progress since the Orange Revolution. It is "vital", he added, "that today's situation be resolved in line with the rule of law". As he then went on to say, the EU "could have done more to stop this crisis from developing" -- namely, with financial aid and more political support. The Union, he argued, must encourage democratic gains in Kiev, particularly by way of a new enhanced agreement with Ukraine. The present crisis, he added, "is a challenge for the Union" to step up its engagement in Ukraine. It is "high time to do more", he concluded. "Let's support Ukraine's European choice".

For the Socialist group, Jan Marinus Wiersma (NL), stressed that the Orange Revolution had led to greater democracy in Ukraine but that it had also given rise to the current conflict, which was "an expression of the divisions in the country". The problem was one of "balance between the institutions and the various political players in the country". It was not up to the EU to "take sides". If the political players would not compromise, constitutional solutions would not work. The challenge was "to overcome internal conflict so that they can undertake the necessary reforms to have closer ties with us".

On behalf of the Liberals, István Szent-Iványi (HU) said the situation since the Orange Revolution had become "more complicated than we had hoped". However, the crisis was of a "domestic political nature" and the EU could only help by remaining neutral - though it obviously had "an interest in a stable democratic Ukraine". Responsibility ultimately lay with the country's politicians and the current negotiations between the EU and Ukraine on a new-generation cooperation cooperation agreement would only succeed "if Ukraine gets back on course".

Guntars Krasts (LV), speaking for the UEN group, reminded the house that "democratic processes are quite successful in the Ukraine" and therefore we cannot exclude the possibility of Ukraine as a candidate for EU membership in the mid-term. The integration of the Ukraine into the world economy, Mr Krasts added, is "a good precondition for solving in a peaceful way the present crisis." A crisis which, Mr Krasts continued, "should be considered a test for maturity." The role of the EU should be "to facilitate a compromise between the militant parties." Mr Krasts concluded by stating that "At the end of the day it is the people of the Ukriane who have to decide how to run their country."

On behalf of the Greens/EFA, Rebecca Harms (DE), said that "despite the confusion", the conditions in Ukraine are "so much more stable than we could have hoped for four years ago." Such conditions are important for the EU, which has "so much interest in ensuring a stable development in Ukraine." The new elections in the Ukraine are "essential" but it is necessary that "all of the parties must respect the outcome of the elections." The parties must also "do a lot more to make sure that the constitutional reforms finally occur." Mrs Harms ended with a reference to Poland as "the most important advocate of the Ukraine in the EU", with the hope that Poland can "pass on the European approach to the Ukraine."

German MEP Helmut Markov, for the GUE/NGL group, underlined that "when a president dissolves a parliament, this obviously needs to be in line with the rule of the constitution of the given country." Hence, the question of whether President Yushchenko's decision was in line or not was a legal matter rather than a political, Markov added. Parliament had the tendency to "put parties into neat little boxes", considering Yushchenko on the one hand as a partner for the European Union and Prime Minister Yanukovych "as the Russian protégé." Instead, Parliament should acknowledge that, even though there were two different nationalities involved, "they are both citizens of the Ukraine, they both represent the interests of that country".

On behalf of the IND/DEM group, Bastiaan Belder (NL) expressed the firm belief that "the future of the EU and the future of Ukraine are closely interlinked", since "the EU-27 will have to extend its borders" and "Ukraine will be taken on board one day". This prospect was also a good incentive for "the powers in the Ukraine that want to bring about a reform", Mr Belder stated. He insisted that "Council and Commission cannot ignore what is happening there" and that the EU should "have to look at the overall crisis situation, but also at our European neighbourhood policy", which "could be useful in trying to bring about stability."

British MEP

Charles Tannock (EPP-ED, UK) said he had observed the 2006 Ukrainian parliamentary elections, which had been "held in exemplary fashion" but "regrettably the outcome then produced neither a stable government nor a climate of fianncial probity amongst many of the RADA MPs who had little interest in politics and really only a vested interest to protect their business interests or avoid prosecution by acquiring parliametnary immunity". He believed the EU Council "missed a trick in not granting Ukraine in the heady days of the Orange Revolution the same status as western Balkan countries like Albania of being called a potential candiate for eventual EU accession. This would have been a great carrot to westernising democratic reformist forces." He welcomed EU plans for a deep free-trade and visa facilitation travel area after Ukraine joins the WTO. Above all, "Ukrainians must be brought closer to the European Union where they rightfully belong".

Council and Commission responses

Responding to the debate for the Council, Mr Gloser said that on many points there was agreement between Parliament and Council. It was, he said, for those with political responsibility in Ukraine to decide from themselves on how to proceed. “The EU cannot act as a broker, it is a domestic matter. The President and Prime Minister of Ukraine need to come together to find a solution.” Javier Solana had been in close contact with both groups, he said, the EU was not keeping out of the situation, but was being neutral. It was necessary for people in Ukraine to decide what to do.

For the Commisssion, Mr Spidla said his institution agreed with much of Parliament's assessment. “We will follow the development of the crisis and try to make a contribution, encouraging those with positions of responsibility in Ukraine to think of the good of their country and seek a compromise,” he said, adding that the Commission stood by the EU's agreements with Ukraine and recognised Ukraine as one of the EU's key partners.


Early Elections for May 27 cancelled by Court ruling

Ukraine's top administrative court says no elections May 27 15:35

Source: RIAN News Service

KIEV, April 25 (RIA Novosti) - Ukraine's Supreme Administrative Court has banned holding early parliamentary elections May 27 amid the ongoing political turmoil in the former Soviet country, the justice minister said Wednesday.

Update: ITAR-TASS - Court issues statement of clarification

KIEV, April 25 (Itar-Tass) -- Ukraine’s Higher Administrative Court has called into question the timeline for early parliamentary elections, scheduled for May 27, but has not banned them.

“The Higher Administrative Court has issued a separate ruling in respect to this case, which noted the obvious fact of inaction on the part of the Central Election Commission in terms of violating the timescale and the procedure for forming territorial election commissions, which calls into doubt the holding of early parliamentary elections within the period determined by the presidential decree,” the court’s press service said on Wednesday.

Early elections came into the spotlight after President Viktor Yushchenko signed a decree to dissolve parliament and set snap elections for May 27, following the defection of 11 opposition members to the ruling coalition in parliament, the Supreme Rada.

"There can be no elections May 27," Oleksandr Lavrynovych said, adding that the court ruling could not be appealed.

While the Constitutional Court of Ukraine continues to review the presidential decree, members of the ruling coalition, the opposition, the Cabinet and the president's secretariat have gathered for political consultations on early parliamentary elections.

The ruling coalition led by Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych has vehemently opposed fresh elections and refused to obey the presidential decree until the Constitutional Court announces its ruling expected by April 27.


Shifting polls: Increase support for Yushchenko but Yanukovych still in the lead

Ukrainian President, Viktor Yushchenko, has seen his approval rating increase since his conflict with Ukraine's Governing coalition, up from a low of 10% to 20%.

The recent published poll by Kiev International Institute for Sociology Ukraine's Prime Minister, Viktor Yanukovych, leading on an approval rating of 34.5% with Yulia Tymoshenko trailing the President on 16%

Based on this information, if there was a fresh Presidential elections and all three candidates stood, we would see a repeat run-off ballot between the two Viktors.


Monday, April 23, 2007

Green Tea - Political Satire

Vote for Green Tea

Submitted by a Ukraine Today reader
April 22, 2007

I like tea. Green tea. I hate you coffee drinkers. Always on and on about your damned coffee. Shut up! When I am in a cafe with one of you, and you order coffee, I always cancel your order. I make you drink green tea. My dream is to be King of some tin-pot wannabe ex-Soviet regime. I would get even with you coffee drinkers. I would start a green tea revolution! Mind you, I’m not a native speaker of any local dialectal mutations of the Russian language, but I understand that’s not a prerequisite. I could pretend. And I’m not very bright. But I understand that’s not a problem either. I like America. I do have a lot of experience pushing buttons on the machines down at the brickworks. That would be much the same as pushing the buttons on the money-printing machines over at the central bank, wouldn’t it?

As King, I would unite all us green tea drinkers, and all you coffee drinkers, by making everyone drink green tea! This national unity compromise stuff is really easy! And while I’m on the subject, you cocoa drinkers and black tea drinkers out there don’t get too smug, because you will be getting green tea shoved down your throats as well. In all the schools, universities, public places, and hallowed halls of government. Even if you gag on it. I do like to drink coffee at home, of course, and when I am away and no-one is watching. I grew up drinking coffee. I’m not a native green tea drinker. But it’s a matter of principle. Some people call me pragmatic, but I don’t know what that means. I just know I do have to do something to show everyone the big chip on my shoulder (it’s the box full of green teabags!). If I were a public coffee drinker, I would not be able to push the green tea trolley, would I? Did I mention how much I like America? And the EU. All gravy trains, in fact. I would follow America to the depths of the North Atlantic. Like the Titanic.


Friday, April 20, 2007

PACE calls for Constitutional and electoral reform and the abolition of Ukraine's Imperative mandate provisions.

Legality of pre-term Parliamentary Elections.
The Parliamentary Assembly Council of Europe (PACE) in its resolution dated April 19, 2007 asks the Venice Commission to review and provide an opinion on the constitutional and legislative basis for pre-term parliamentary elections.

Constitutional Court Authority
The Assembly reiterates that the authority of the sole body of constitutional justice – the Constitutional Court of Ukraine – should be guaranteed and respected. Pressure in any form on the judges is intolerable and should be investigated and criminally prosecuted. On the other hand, it is regrettable that in the eight months of its new full composition, the Constitutional Court has failed to produce judgments, thus failing to fulfil its constitutional role and to contribute to solving the crisis in its earlier stages which undermines the credibility of the court. There is an urgent need for all pending judgments, and in particular the judgment concerning the constitutionality of the Presidential Decree of 2 April 2007, to be delivered. If delivered, the latter should be accepted as binding by all sides.

Constitutional Reform
The Assembly calls on the political forces of Ukraine, as a matter of urgency, to resume working on the improvement of the Constitution of Ukraine and the related legislation in order to establish at last an effective system of checks and balances and bring constitutional provisions in line with European standards. Constitutional reform should be part of the discussions aimed at the resolution of the current political crisis. The Assembly expresses its expectation that the Venice Commission will be actively involved in the process of drafting constitutional reform proposals.

Imperative Mandate
The Commission called on Ukraine to consider further reform that would abolish the imperative mandate provisions in Ukraine's constitution.

The Assembly reaffirms that the recall of people's representatives by the political parties ("imperative mandate") is unacceptable in a democratic state. The relevant constitutional provisions need to be abrogated in line with the recommendations of the Venice Commission in 2004; similar provisions also need to be deleted from ordinary legislation. The Assembly believes that a consistent political programme, responsible and committed party membership and scrupulous screening of parties' candidates are more effective tools for encouraging party and faction discipline.

Full copy of the Parliamentary Assembly resolution can be found here


PACE calls on Ukraine to respect the outcome and decision of Ukraine's Constitutional Court

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE)yesterday considered further the current Ukrainian Crisis.

PACE resolution adopted by 107 votes to 5, called on Ukraine’s leaders and parliament to resolve the crisis in a legitimate, strictly constitutional and peaceful manner, “whether that be by calling legitimate early elections, emanating from the ruling of the Constitutional Court, or by way of a negotiated compromise.”

PACE did not specify if it's resolution related only to Parliamentary elections or also included fresh Presidential elections which have been called for by the governing coalition. If the Constitutional Court rules against the President's decree there will be growing pressure for the President to resign and face early elections in order to renew his mandate.

The qualifying statement related to the ruling of the Constitution Court sent a clear signal to Viktor Yushchenko and Ukraine's Office of the President that Ukraine must respect the outcome and decision of Ukraine's Constitutional Court, implying that the Court must be able to adjudicate on the legality of the Presidents decree before it's implementation.

According to PACE's official website, the urgent ruling by the country’s constitutional court in the ongoing political crisis, if delivered, should be accepted as binding by all sides.

The Assembly also said pressure on the judges of the constitutional court was “intolerable” and should be investigated and criminally prosecuted.


European Council Calls for investigation and criminal prosecution for intolerable pressure on Ukraine's Judges

"The ruling of Ukraine’s Constitutional Court in the current crisis should be accepted as binding by all sides" - Parliamentary Assembly said in a resolution adopted on 19 April.

The Assembly warned that pressure in any form on the judges of the Court was ''intolerable'', and should be investigated and criminally prosecuted.


Yulia Tymoshenko under investigation for possible contempt of court and interference with the course of justice in Ukraine

The Ukrainian Prosecutor-Generals Office has opened a criminal investigation into allegations that officials have illegally pressured Constitutional Court justices, RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service reported.

Comments recently made by Yulia Tymoshenko outside the constitutional Court could constitute Contempt of Court and a deliberate attempt to intimidate and theatern Constitutional Court Judges.

Yulia Tymoshenko following the decision of Ukraine's Constitutional Court to consider the merits of the Government's appeal against Viktor Yuschenko, Ukraine's President, decree dismissing Ukraine's democratically elected parliament, called on Viktor Yuschenko to withdraw his nominees from the Court.

Yulia Tymoshenko in hear speech attacked the decision of the Court and claimed that the Court was corrupt. She failed to provide any evidence or statements backing up her claim.

Yesterday, Yabloko party leader Mykhailo Brodskyi claimed that Yulia Tymoshenko has asked him for USD 3 million to bribe judges of the Constitutional Court.

Ukraine's Prosecutor-General, Viktor Pshonka, said his office was looking into whether laws were broken when demonstrators tried to prevent judges from entering the court on April 18. "The capture of the Constitutional Court building which was aimed at disrupting the court's normal functioning," Pshonka said. "We also will be considering additional claims of interference into the judges' activities in order to obstruct them from exercising their official duties or make them pass illegal resolutions."

Earlier Yesterday, Volodymyr Shapoval, who is Yushchenko appointed liaison to the Constitutional Court, announced that he will resign from the constitutional Court after the court makes a ruling on the dissolution of parliament.

Ukrainian Deputy Yuriy Myroshnichenko in response to the news of Shapovals notice of resignation stated that "Shapoval demonstrated his disagreement with Yushchenko position... acting like a true expert"


Thursday, April 19, 2007

PACE report calls on Ukraine to adopt a Full Parliamentary System

The Council or Europe - Parliament Assembly has called on Ukraine to adopt a full parliamentary system in line with European Standards

"It would be better for the country to switch to a full parliamentary system with proper checks and balances and guarantees of parliamentary opposition and competition."

The PACE: Explanatory memorandum presented to the Assembly meeting held on April 19 by Mrs Severinsen and Mrs Wohlwend, co-rapporteurs on Ukraine raised concern about the inevitable conflict of power under Ukraine's Parliamentary-Presidential system between the Parliament and the President.

The report states: "The failure to establish clearly defined and law-based institutions to guarantee in practice separation of power, democratic rights and freedoms, by providing for an effective system of checks and balances is at the very heart of the political struggle that has unfolded in the country over recent months and sparked into an open crisis upon the dissolution of the Verkhovna Rada (parliament) by the President of Ukraine on 2 April 2007"

As co-rapporteurs of the Assembly's Monitoring Committee, we are deeply concerned about the political and legal implications of President Yushchenko's decision and the constitutional, institutional and political crisis that has unfolded thereafter. Even more worrying is the fact that the crisis has paralysed many already seriously ailing institutions which should be guaranteeing democracy, rule of law and human rights
The undecided question on competencies and limits of different branches of power first led to a considerable confusion over the formation of the majority coalition and the new government following the March 2006 legislative elections, and has ever since evolved into an incessant tug of war between the President and the Prime Minister.
The parliamentary–presidential system opted for by the Ukrainian lawmakers in 2004 has an in-built structural problem: it can work smoothly only if the presidential and parliamentary powers represent the same political vision. Cohabitation works in the case of highly mature democracies, which is not the case in Ukraine. Largely because of this structural cohabitation dilemma, all established European democracies apart from France (Also Cyprus) have opted for the fully parliamentary form of governance.

What we have also seen since the establishment of the current parliamentary majority coalition and the formation of PM Yanukovych's government is the struggle to move towards a fully parliamentary system, which in the existing constitutional order has been perceived by the opposition as usurpation of power by the majority.

Although Ukraine understandably has its own historic reasons to avoid the accumulation of power into the hands of one political force, it should nevertheless consider in the course of future constitutional amendments whether it would not be better for the country to switch to a full parliamentary system with proper checks and balances and guarantees of parliamentary opposition and competition.


Recent Poll - International Institute of Sociology - April 2007

According to a poll conducted by the Kiev-based International Institute of Sociology, if parliamentary elections in Ukraine were held in the middle of April, the Party of Regions led by Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovich would have won.

Source: ITAR-TASS News Service

The Party of Regions would have been supported by 35.9 percent of those who intend to vote. The Yulia Timoshenko Bloc would have received 20.9 percent, the pro-presidential Our Ukraine bloc would have scored 11.6 percent, and the Communist Party 3.4 percent.

Other parties and blocs would not have passed the 3-percent barrier.

People’s Self-Defense created by former interior minister Yuri Lutsenko would have received 2.1 percent, the Natalia Vitrenko Bloc 1.5 percent, the Socialist Party of Alexander Moroz 1.5 percent, and former parliament speaker Vladimir Litvin’s bloc 1.4 percent.

If early parliamentary elections, called by Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko for May 27, take place, the Party of Regions and the Communist Party, without the Socialist Party, can create a parliamentary coalition again.

The poll involved 2,051 respondents in all regions of Ukraine, the Crimea, and Kiev.

Under Ukraine's current electoral system only parties that receive more then 3% of the overall vote are elected to Parliament those below the 3% threshold are denied representation.

The number of seats is allocated to each party above the 3% quota is calculated by scaleing up and proportioning out the seats according to the allocated percentage each party receives.

Based on the above poll the following seat allocations would be made.

Party - Seats out of 450
Party of Regions - 225 (45.0%)
Bloc Yulia Tymoshenko - 131 (29.1%)
Our Ukraine - 73 (16.2%)
Communist Party of Ukraine - 21 (4.7%)


Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Yulia Tymoshenko Threatens to resign if Constitutional Court rules against Yushchenko

Kyiv April 18 - 125 Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc and 80 Our Ukraine Party members of Ukraine's Parliament (Rada) have threatened to resign if the Constitutional Court rules against Viktor Yushchenko's Presidential decree dismissing the Parliament.

Yesterday the Constitutional Court agreed to consider the appeal lodged by the governing coalition claiming that the Presidents decree was unconstitutional. The Court voted 11 out of 18 to hear the appeal.

In what is seen by many as an attempt to intimidate the Court in the hope of influencing the Courts determination Yulia Tymoshenko claimed that the Constitutional Court was corrupt and that she would not respect the Courts decision following yesterday's ruling. This is in spite the fact that the Court is yet to rule on the Constitutionality of the President's decree.

Members of Parliament when appointed to the Parliament take an oath "I swear allegiance to Ukraine. I commit myself with all my deeds to protect the sovereignty and independence of Ukraine, to provide for the good of the Motherland and for the welfare of the Ukrainian people. I swear to abide by the Constitution of Ukraine and the laws of Ukraine, to carry out my duties in the interests of all compatriots." - Article 79 Ukraine's Constitution

Yulia Tymoshenko's threats to resign are nothing more then that - threats. The Ukrainian Central Electoral Committee (CEC) has indicated that if members of Parliament resign the CEC will elect the next available persons on the registered electoral lists.

Article 82 (2nd paragraph) of Ukraine's Constitution states "The Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine is competent on the condition that no less than two-thirds of its constitutional composition has been elected."

The exact meaning and intention of this clause is not definitive and we could see yet again another issue referred to the Constitutional Court.

It seems that Yulia and Our Ukraine will continue to protest and destablise Ukraine until they secure their demands. - even if they do not win the next round of elections or support of Ukraine's Constitutional Court.

As events unfold the the crisis facing Ukraine gets worst as the opposition loses support. Yulia and Our Ukraine continue to undermine Ukraine's democratic institutions even when there is no justification for complaint.

In the absence of an agreed compromise the only way forward would be for the Council of Europe Venice Commission to independently consider the issue of legality and constitutionality of Ukraine's Presidential decree. Should the European Venice Commission and the Constitutional Court rule against the President then the President MUST resign.

Fresh elections should only be held following the adoption of changes to Ukraine's electoral laws. The establishment of 50 local electoral districts each district electing nine members of parliament on a 10% quota and the implementation of a preferential voting system would faciliate a driect mandate system as oppsoed to the party list 'imperatove mandate'system currently in place.

It would be appropriate and desirable for Ukraine to hold simultaneously fresh Presidential and Parliamentary elections - Similar proposals have been submitted by Ukraine's governing Coalition but hav not been agreed to by Ukraine's President who continues to divide Ukraine.


Tuesday, April 17, 2007

pro-Western and pro-Russian steroeotype offensive to Wisdom of Ukraine

Unity of Ukraine is crucial for unity of Europe - PACE President

"Dividing Ukraine into `pro-Western` and `pro-Russian` is an offence to the wisdom of the people of Ukraine" said Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly President René van der Linden.

How true. The sooner the Western and Ukrainian media cease promoting this false stereotype the better off Ukraine and the world will be.


Ukraine opposition says Constitutional Court 'a farce' - Yulia Tymoshenko

Ukrainian opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko has described a Constitutional Court session reviewing President Yushchenko's decree dissolving parliament as "a farce," and urged the president to recall the judges appointed on his quota.

Source: RIA Novosit

"The Constitutional Court in its present form cannot and must not be an arbiter," she said.

She said the crisis can only be resolved by going to the country, not a handful of people who are neither free nor unbiased.

"We will not accept the decision of this Constitutional Court, because it cannot be legal," Tymoshenko said.

Ukraine's Constitutional Court said earlier Tuesday it decided to study a presidential decree ordering the dissolution of parliament nonstop, from April 17 through 27, until a final ruling is passed.

The decision was upheld by 11 out of 18 judges.


Ukraine's Ministry of Justice - Legal Opinion on President's April 2, 2007 Decree


Following interpellation of the Cabinet of Ministers, the Ministry of Justice has prepared the Legal Opinion with regard to the results of legal examination of Decree of the President of Ukraine dated April, 2 the year 2007 N 264 "On pre-term abatement of authority of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine"

Below is presented the full text of the Opinion:

Legal Opinion
Ministry of Justice

with regard to the results of legal examination of Decree of the President of Ukraine dated April, 2 the year 2007 N 264 "On pre-term abatement of authority of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine"

The President of Ukraine by Decree dated April, 2 the year 2007 N 264 "On pre-term abatement of authority of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine", referring to Article 5 para. 2-4, Article 77 para. 2, Article 83 para. 6, Article 106 para. 1 (§§ 1 and 7) and para. 3 of Constitution of Ukraine, decreed:

Terminate pre-term the authority of Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine V convocation.

Offer People's Deputies of Ukraine to continue exercising their authority which is not directly correlated with the authority of Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine.

Hold special elections to Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine on the 27th of May 2007, Sunday

Cabinet of Ministers secure the financing of early elections to Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine

Central Election Committee secure the organization of early elections to Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine in accordance with the Constitution of Ukraine, Law of Ukraine "On election of People's Deputies", other Laws of Ukraine.

Minister of Justice considers that the promulgation by President the mentioned Decree violates a number of provisions of Constitution of Ukraine taking into account the following:

The Constitution of Ukraine defines the footing and mechanism in the exercise of state power. Bodies of state power, their officials are obliged to act only on the grounds, within the limits of authority, and in the manner envisaged by the Constitution and the Laws of Ukraine (Second Part of Article 19 of Constitution). Laws and other normative legal acts are to be adopted on the basis of the Constitution of Ukraine and shall conform to it (Second Part of Article 8 of Constitution of Ukraine).

In accordance with clause 8 of the first Part of Article106 of Constitution of Ukraine the authority of President is, in particular, to terminate the authority of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine in cases specified by this Constitution. By exercising this authority the President is obliged to comply with the conditions and order of its realization stipulated in the Constitution, in particular, to exercise the authority exceptionally having the ground, provided in the second Part of Article 90 of the Constitution of Ukraine, that is, in case:

(1) there is a failure to form within one month a coalition of parliamentary factions in the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine as provided for in Article 83 of this Constitution;

(2) there is a failure, within sixty days following the resignation of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine, to form the personal composition of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine;

(3) the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine fails, within thirty days of a single regular session, to commence its plenary meetings.

However, the Decree of the President dated April, 2 year 2007 N 264 "On pre-term abatement of authority of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine" does not even refer to the provisions of the second Part of Article 90 and clause 8 of first Part of Article 106 of Constitution of Ukraine, which directly define the authority of President as regards the conditions and order of pre-term abatement the authority of Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine.

Thus, the mentioned Decree does not have legal ground necessary for realizing the corresponding constitutional authority of the President of Ukraine, which confirms unlawfulness of his decision to abate pre-term the authority of Verkhovna Rada.

2. The violation of Article 83 of the Constitution of Ukraine, which provides that a coalition of deputies factions is formed in Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine according to election results on the basis of concordance of political positions exclusively by the deputies factions, is asserted by the President of Ukraine as the argument in favor of pre-term abatement of the authority of Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine V convocation.

Article 83 para. 6 of the Constitution of Ukraine, determines that the coalition of deputies factions is formed in Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine according to election results and on the basis of concordance of political positions, a coalition of deputies factions includes a majority of People's Deputies of Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine.

Thus, the constitutional grounds for forming the coalition of deputies factions are:

- forming of it according to election results;

- concordance of political positions of deputies factions which form the coalition

- entry to coalition of the deputies factions a majority of People's Deputies of Ukraine within the constitutional composition of Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine. At that the Constitution of Ukraine doesn't contain provisions condition the entry into coalition of all of People's Deputies of Ukraine, who are the members of respective party (block of political parties) faction or make impossible the non-entry of some faction members to coalition composition.

People's Deputy of Ukraine is the plenipotentiary of the People of Ukraine in the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, responsible to it and is called to voice and defend the its interests (the Decision of the Constitutional Court on 7 July 1998 # 11). Thus, the personal political position of the separate People's Deputies of Ukraine can be not coincident with the political position of the deputy faction on the whole.

The resolving condition for forming the coalition is the availability in the deputies factions, formed according to election results, and composing the coalition, the quantitative majority of People's Deputies of Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine.

According to Article 83 para. 9 of the Constitution of Ukraine the framework for forming, organising, and abatement of activity of a coalition of deputies factions in Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine are established by the Constitution of Ukraine and by the Rules of Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine.

Article 61 of the Rules of Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, in pursuance of Article 83 of the Constitution, determines that the coalition of deputies factions, formed in Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, is a voluntary association of the deputies factions, which is formed in Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine according to election results and on the basis of concordance of political positions. A majority of People's Deputies of Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine composes the coalition.

The coalition is formed after conducting of consultations by all deputies factions. On results of the conducted consultations signed personally by the heads of correspondent deputies factions, or in accordance with the decision of deputy factions, by one of the deputy heads of deputy faction, an Agreement on coalition of deputies factions in Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine is made.

In the coalition agreement there are fixed the coordinated political positions, which became the basis for forming of this coalition, in particular concerning the bases of domestic and foreign policy, the political direction and principals of coalition activity are determined, and also the order of solving of coalition activity internal organizational issues and the order of its activity termination. Lists of deputies factions members, who formed the coalition, with personal signatures of People's Deputies are to be added to the coalition agreement. Lists of deputies factions members are essential part of the coalition agreement.

A coalition is regarded to be as formed from the moment of its official proclaimation by the Head of Verkhovna Rada at the plenary session on the basis of the coalition agreement and lists of deputies factions members, who formed the coalition, with personal signatures of People's Deputies filed to the Apparatus of Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine.

Thus, the Rules of Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine binds the formation of coalition of deputy factions with the existence of such juridical facts.

1) signing by the heads of correspondent deputies factions, or in accordance with the decision of deputy faction by one of the deputy heads of deputy faction, of the Agreement on coalition of deputies factions in Verkhovna Rada (coalition agreement).

2) filing to the Apparatus of Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine of coalition agreement and lists of deputies factions members, who formed the coalition, with personal signatures of People's Deputies.

3) notification by the head of the plenary session of Verkhovna Rada about formation of the coalition of the deputies' factions based on the documents submitted by the coalition.

According to Article 62 of the Rules of Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine the one month term of the formation of the deputies' factions coalition starts from the date when the first plenary session of the newly elected Verkhovna Rada took place or from the other date of the ordinary or extraordinary session of Verkhovna Rada. From that day according to the Rules of Verkhovna Rada the coalition's activity is recognized terminated, and is over at 12 p.m. on the thirtieth day of the calendar.

In this connection it is necessary to notify that the first plenary session of Verkhovna Rada fifth convocation started on the 25th May 2006 by the taking the oath by the Deputies of Ukraine according to Article 79§1 of the Constitution of Ukraine that is confirmed by the record of the plenary session of Verkhovna Rada of the 25th May 2006. So from the 25th May 2006 the term, provided for by the legislation of Ukraine, for formation of the coalition in parliament started to expare.

On the 22nd June 2006 the Heads of the deputy factions the Nasha Ukraina, Blok Yulii Timoshenko, and the Social Party of Ukraine on the grounds of the Agreement about the coalition of the deputy fractions in the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine informed about the creation of the Coalition of democratic forces consisting of 239 People's Deputies of Ukraine, who confirmed their willingness to become a member of the coalition.

However, on the 7th July 2006 the deputy fractions of the Party of Regions, the Social Party of Ukraine and the Communist Party of Ukraine informed about creation of the Antirecessionary coalition in Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine fifth convocation, and on the 11th July 2006 on the plenary session of Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine it was announced about termination of the coalition created on the 22nd June 2006 by the deputy factions the Nasha Ukraina, Blok Yulii Timoshenko, and the Social Party of Ukraine because of receiving the applications from the the deputies of the Social Party of Ukraine about leaving the coalition. It resulted in decrease of a number of deputies in the composition up to 213 that is less then the minimum determined by the Constitutional.

The same day on the plenary session of Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine it was announced about creation and registration Antirecessionary coalition in Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine. This coalition was formed between the Party of Regions, the Social Party of Ukraine and the Communist Party of Ukraine on the grounds of Agreement about its creation, signed by the head of three fractions (Mr V. Yanukovych, Mr O. Moroz, and Mr P. Symonenko) on 7th July 2006 according to Article 61§2 of the Rules of Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine.

Thus, the Antirecessionary coalition was officially formed on 11th July 2006 from the moment of proclamation about it in the plenary session of Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine.

At the same time on 23rd 2007 the Antirecessionary coalition informed about change of its name from the Antirecessionary coalition to Coalition of the National Unity for the purpose of concordance the name of the coalition of deputy fractions with its priority tasks. So if the most relevant task of the Antirecessionary coalition was to overcome serious political and economical crisis, which Ukraine met after the presidential (2004) and parliament (2006) elections, this aim was not relevant to the present day. That is why the Antirecessionary coalition declared another goal of its activity – elaboration and implementation of the strategic aims and priorities of the State Policy, called upon to increase welfare of the people and to consolidate with this aim all the branches of the State power – and in this connection the name of the Coalition has been changed from Antorecessionary Coalition to the Coalition of the National Unity.

The mentioned above witnesses the fact of formation of the deputies' factions coalition in Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine on the basis of the concordance of political positions of three deputies' fractions formed following the results of elections within one month from the date of the termination of activity of the previous coalition of deputy fractions. The Coalition comprises the majority of the deputies of Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine. Thus, the conditions of the Coalition of deputys' fractions determined by Article 83 of the Constitution of Ukraine are observed.

3. By Article 2 of the Decree of 2 April 2007 No 264 On the Pre-Term Abatement of Authorities of Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine the President of Ukraine offered deputies to continue to exercise their authorities which is not directly connected with the authorities of Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine. The mentioned above complies with Article 81§3 of the Constitution of Ukraine according to which the authorities of a deputy of Ukraine shall be terminated before the appointed time if the early termination of authorities of Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine on the date when the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine of a new convocation opens its first meeting.

However, the realisation of the authorities of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine is inherent part of the authorities of the deputies of Ukraine.

By implication the Constitution of Ukraine, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine (Parliament) is the representative body of state authority and the sole body of legislative power which has collegiate character and consist of 450 People's Deputies of Ukraine who are elected on the basis of universal, equal and direct suffrage, by secret ballot. The Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine is competent on the condition that no less than two-thirds of its constitutional composition has been elected. The authority of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine is executed by joint activity of People's Deputies of Ukraine at meetings of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine during its session (the Resolution of the Constitutional Court of 17 October 2002 17).

According to article 90 part 1 the Constitution of Ukraine, the authority of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine is terminated on the day of the opening of the first meeting of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine of a new convocation.

So, to the moment of the opening of the first meeting of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine of a new convocation the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine is competent, in other words its has the right to adopting laws and realizing other constitutional authority.

4. According to article 4 the President's decree of 2 April 2007 № 264 „ On pre-term termination of the authority of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine" the President of Ukraine charged to The Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine to provide financing of early elections to the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine.

According to Article 113 § 2 of the Constitution of Ukraine the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine is responsible before the President of Ukraine. According to Article 113§3 the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine is guided in its activity by this Constitution and the laws of Ukraine and also by Decrees issued by the President of Ukraine, and resolutions issued by Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine in accordance with the Constitution and the laws of Ukraine. According to provisions of Article 116 of the Constitution of Ukraine the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine exercises certain functions, including according to part 6 of this article elaborates the draft law on the State Budget of Ukraine approved by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine.

According to the Law of Ukraine On State Budget of Ukraine on 2007 there are no financing for holding of early elections. So, the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine can't executed the requirements of Article 4 of the Decree of President of Ukraine of 2 April 2007 no. 264 till the Law of Ukraine On State Budget of Ukraine on 2007 is amended.

Regarding to the stated above and according to Article 8 § 2 of the Constitution of Ukraine laws and other legal acts are adopted on the basis of the Constitution of Ukraine and shall be in compliance with it. The Decree of the President of Ukraine of 2 April 2007 264 On the Pre-Term Abatement of Authorities of Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine issued by the President of Ukraine with abuse of power provided by Constitution of Ukraine and violated it. In view of this the Ministry of Justice consider that it is necessary to propose to the President of Ukraine to repeal the Decree of 2 April 2007 № 264 as such that is in a conflict with the Constitution of Ukraine.

Minister of justice
Oleksandr Lavrynovych