Thursday, August 30, 2007

September 4 could determine the outcome of proposed elections

Next Tuesday is the start or end of the campaign

In confirmation of Ukraine Today's earlier comments September 4 is shaping up to become the next real test of authority and justification for the holding of fresh parliamentary elections scheduled on September 30.

Ukraine's Minister of justice, Oleksandr Lavrynovych, has confirmed what we have been saying for months in a statement published by Ukrayinska Pravda "... there will be no early parliamentary election in the event the Verkhovna Rada registers 300 MPs."

Olexandr Lavrynovych is convinced that the Verkhovna Rada will thereby demonstrate its competence.

Under Article 83 of Ukraine's Constitution the parliament must convene its regular Autumn session on the first Tuesday in September. If the plenary session session can not be held then according to Article 90 section 3 of Ukraine's constitution the President must wait 30 days before he has the power to terminate the authority of the parliament.

Kyiv post has reported that only 120 members of parliament have resigned.

If 300 or more members of parliament register their attendance on September 4 then the September 30 elections could be in doubt.

It is unknown if the president or the opposition will ty and prevent parliament from sitting - Something that is a criminal officence

Party of Regions have indicated that they will attend the scheduled plenary session whilst the communist party has provided conflicting statements. It is understood that the opposition will not be in attendance.

One of the issues to be considered at the September 4 session is the question of immunity for parliamentarians, teh judiciary and the president. An issue the opposition have campaigned on. The Government has called on all Parliamentary factions to resolve the issue of immunity prior top the September 30 poll.

It is difficult to see under what circumstances the session can be held if as claimed by the president and the opposition over 161 members of parliament have resigned. But the laws on resignation are sketchy, as we saw when Yulia Tymoshenko resigned earlier only to reclaim her entitlement at a later date in order to particpate in the July parliamentary session.


Simultaneous early parliamentary and presidential elections possible after September Poll

The President’s advisor Stepan Havrysh does not rule out the possibility of holding simultaneous early parliamentary and presidential elections if the constitutional amendments preparation will not begin right after the September 30 elections.

“If we fail to hold a nationwide debate, draw the President, Parliament, political forces, government and the judiciary into it, we will face government uncontrollably,” he said at a Tuesday press-conference, Interfax-Ukraine news agency reports.

Mr. Havrysh claims that early parliamentary elections will not remove the confrontation between power branches that inevitably lead to a clash.

It is necessary to form a national constitutional council aimed at elaborating the new Constitution.

The council must consist of public representatives each representing 70,000 voters.

A draft Constitution must be prepared by specialists before brining it up for discussion.

In Mr. Havrysh’s opinion, a new draft Constitution may be approved at the end of 2008 or beginning of 2009.

It should stipulate a new system of parliamentary elections. Mr. Havrysh himself stands up for a two-chamber parliament.

After this it is desirable to call new early parliamentary elections on the basis of the new election system.

The President’s Secretariat is currently considering Mr. Havrysh’s proposal.

Source: Ukrayinska Pravda


Saturday, August 25, 2007

Ukrainian Parliament to hold a September 4 Autumn Session

The speaker of the 5 convocation of Ukraine's parliament Olexandr Moroz has indicated that the Verkhovna Rada will be convened on September 4, 2007
Dr Moroz announced that the parliament will consider a number of issues including the proposal to remove immunity from public officials (including members of Parliament and the President). the parliament will also consider the proposed impeachment of Ukraine's President for breaches of oath and Ukraine's Constitution
Ukraine has been in "constitutional limbo" now for just under 6 months.
The president's earlier decrees dismissing the parliament are considered to be unconstitutional in that the president has no authority to dismiss the parliament except pursuant to the provisions of Article 90.  His previous decrees do not conform with the requirements of Article 90.  The situation has been exacerbated by the president's illegal interference in the operation of the Constitutional Court  which has prevented the Constitutional Court from ruling on the legality of his actions.
Under Ukraine's Constitution (Article 90 section 3) if the parliament is unable to commence its regular session, scheduled to start on September 4, then 30 days following  (October 5) the president has the authority to terminate the parliament and hold fresh election, but not before.   
If the parliament is able to successfully commence its next session on September 4 then the legality of early elections scheduled for September 30 will once again be brought into question.
Kyiv Post an article published on August
The Kyiv Post, in its article published on August 22, indicated that "nearly 120 opposition MPs have already resigned their seats in parliament" This is less then the 161 members previously claimed to have resigned by the president and opposition parties.
It is unknown if the Kyiv post has made an unintended mistake in its reporting but if the statement is true and 300 or more members of parliament attend the scheduled session on September 4 then Ukraine will once again face a constitutional crisis. 
A crisis of the president's making.
The president, Victor Yushchenko, has demonstrated on more then one occasion that he is not pro-democratic and that he is prepared to ride roughshod over Ukraine's constitution and rule of law by illegally interfering with the operation of Ukraine's Constitution Court in order to avoid judicial review.  
Victor Yushchenko has consistently sought to undermine Ukraine's democratic development at its parliamentary democracy and rule of law in Ukraine.
The current parliamentary system is a significant improvement over the past presidential 'rule by decree' dictatorship. Under the parliamentary model the government is held to account and there are significantly more check and balances on executive government. Its not perfect but it is a step in the right direction.
If the president is allowed to continue to misuse and abuse his authority and power of veto, Ukraine one again, will find itself in a situation of political division.
Political games waiting in the wings
The other issue that has been canvassed, but yet to play out, is what happens if the losing party/bloc fails to win the overall election scheduled for September 30 and opts to exploit a weakness in Ukraine's constitution (Article 82) by not participating in the new convocation of the parliament. 
Ukraine's constitution requires that two-thirds of its membership must be elected and sworn in before the new parliament can take office. (Article 82) If the losing side does not recognise the results of the election, and does not take the oath of office, the new parliament will not come into being. (Article 79)
If the new parliament can not be formed and the old parliament remains in office.  (Article 81) 
Article  90 paragraph states "The authority of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, that is elected at special elections conducted after the pre-term termination by the President of Ukraine of authority of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine of the previous convocation, shall not be terminated within one year from the day of its election." If the government can not be formed within 30 days from the date of the election then the parliament loses its authority.  (Article 90, 82 and 83)
These are unintended circumstance that were never expected to be brought into play or used as a political tactic, in a ongoing power struggle. It is a question of good faith on part of Ukrainians political parties but never the less it highlights flaws in the current Constitution, one that the president and the opposition have already sought to exploit. 
Ukraine could very well see itself in a Mexican stand-off.  Such a proposal would most certainly play into the hands of the president who has and continues to undermine Ukraine's parliamentary democracy.


Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Three more polls

Two polls provide some encouragement for the opposition

Three more polls were published this week Two of the polls notionally place the opposition within a slender winning position. One of the polls which has been incorrectly assessed by the reporting media who reported four parties woudl secure representaion when in fact the poll indicates that five political blocks will be represented in the VI convocation of Ukraine's Parliament. Former Ukrainian parliamentary speaker Lytvyn Peoples Party polled 2.8% with the participation rate of 89% Lytvyn which would receive 3.1% of the expected vote and secure 18 parliamentary seats the number of undecided is over 10% and could really decide the outcome of the election snap election.

The Sofia poll also reported on the all important trust factor with more then 52% of Ukrainians distrusting Ukraine's President, Viktor Yushchenko.

Poll Statistics Publication Date14-Aug-07
Poll Dates from27-Jul-07
Party/Bloc % vote% poll# seats% seats
OU-PSD *14.9%14.9%9922.0%
Particpation Rate/Sum 100.0%100.0%450100.0%
No Vote0.0%
Gov (PoR+CPU) +SPU240
Opp (OUPSD+BYuT)210
Poll Statistics Publication Date9-Aug-07
Poll Dates from30-Jul-07
Party/Bloc % vote% poll# seats% seats
OU-PSD *11.9%13.2%7616.8%
Particpation Rate/Sum 90.4%100.0%450100.0%
No Vote9.6%
Gov (PoR+CPU) +SPU209
Opp (OUPSD+BYuT)241
Other/Lytvn Bloc
Poll Statistics Publication Date14-Aug-07
Poll Dates from23-Jul-07
Party/Bloc % vote% poll# seats% seats
OU-PSD *14.1%15.7%9220.3%
Particpation Rate/Sum 89.7%100.0%450100.0%
No Vote10.3%
Gov (PoR+CPU) +SPU201
Opp (OUPSD+BYuT)231
Other/Lytvn Bloc18