Monday, April 30, 2007

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.