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