Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Yushchenko's attack on democracy or hypocrisy


Yushchenko no longer acting as a head of state but a leader of a political party has today began his campaign.

In the above article Yushchenko states

“Now some separate groups in the parliament try to execute agreements and prolong agony condition with political games. They break promises and damage the interests of our country,”

Yushchenko had given an undertaking to abide by the decision of Ukraine's Constitutional Court yet when it became apparent that the court was about to rule his previous decrees unconstitutional he acted to prevent the court form ruling on the legality of his actions.

Yushchenko in trying justifying his unconstitutional dismissal of Ukraine's democratically elected parliament stated

“If democratic values do not have very important sense for political leaders and state institutions are incapable for work, the electorate will be the only possibility to defense the democracy,”

This criticism very much can and should also apply to Yushchenko himself. Yushchenko has acted to prevent Ukraine's democratic institutions from functioning on more then one occasion. Whilst he defers to the will of the people voting in election he fails to mention that he himself is unwilling to face the people of Ukraine by resigning and seeking re-election and renewal of his own mandate in fresh presidential elections, as if if was beyond reproach or without fault.

Yushchenko also supposes that the parliamentary coalition and government have started an attack on democratic values.

“As a president I cannot ignore open attack on our constitutional principles. I am talking about constant attempts of governmental coalition to break constitutional balance. I am talking about corruption in changing of political forces in the parliament against the electorate will. The Constitutional Court lost its ability to execute its constitutional responsibilities due to terrorizing and corruption activity"

Ukraine's president, who gave an oath to uphold Ukraine's Constitution and laws of Ukraine, has and continues to act contrary to the provisions of Ukraine's Constitution himself. His attack on the Constitutional Court, in order to prevent the court from justly ruling on the legality of his decrees, seriously undermines public confidence in the ability of the office of the president to act in the best interest of Ukraine and not just the political interest of his party.

Ukraine's Constitution (Article 103) prohibits the president maintaining a secondary representative role or membership of a political party.

Does the ends justify the means?

As long as the president continues to ride roughshod over Ukraine's laws and democratic institutions the principles of democracy will never be realised.

Two wrongs do not make a right and contrary to the misleading statements made by the president his own actions are undemocratic. A case of "do as he says and not what he does"

The European Union must not sit back and allow this attack on Ukraine's democratic institutions to go unchallenged. It undermines both Ukraine's democratic development and the reputation of the EU as a institution that supports and promotes true democratic values. The longer the Constitutional Court is denied the opportunity to rule on the validity of the president's actions the worst it gets.

The European Union must not be seen to be selectively turning a blind eye to obvious breaches of constitutionality, be it by the president or members of a parliamentary body of one state.

The Eurpean Union nad Pace in particular, in the absence of a functioning Constitutional Court, should request the independent Venice Commission to make an independent assessment and report on the legality of the president's actions. Failure to do otherwise sets a very dangerous precedent that only undermines the EU's standing, International credibility and reputation as being a defender of democratic rule of law.