Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Lytvn opts for Neutrality and No-NATO Membership

Ukraine Radio
29-01-2008 18:04

Lytvyn's bloc faction in parliament supports idea of holding referendum on Ukraine's accession to NATO

This was stated by the bloc's MP Mykhailo Syrota while on a trip to Donetsk. He noted that in case such a referendum is held his political force will support Ukraine's neutrality.

Mr. Syrota also believes that the Party of Regions and the president have the same position on Ukraine's NATO membership, which is confirmed by the party member Rayisa Bohatyriova's joining the president's team as the Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council.


EU wants 'political stability' in Ukraine before closer ties

A recent article published in the EU Observer indicates that Europe wants political stability in Ukraine before they embrace Ukraine ad offer membership.

The best way forward for Ukraine to establish political stability is for Ukraine to complete its transition from a Presidential 'rule by decree' dictatorship to a full Europe Parliamentary 'rule of law' democracy.

Ukraine must look to Europe for its political and Constitutional reforms ad ot the USA if it wants to become a part of the EU.

EU wants 'political stability' in Ukraine before closer ties
29.01.2008 - 09:19 CET By Elitsa Vucheva
EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - Ukraine needs to show political stability, as well as more political and economic reforms, in order for the country to win closer relations with the EU, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said on Monday (28 January).

"To achieve progress, we need political stability, we need a Ukraine that is really committed to political and economic reforms," he said after meeting Ukraine's new prime minister, Yulia Tymoshenko.

"We are confident that political stability can become a reality in Ukraine," he added.

Ms Tymoshenko is on a two-day visit to Brussels aiming to foster greater ties with the 27-member bloc.

Ukraine is currently part of the EU's neighbourhood policy, a tool designed to offer EU neighbours closer - or privileged - cooperation with the bloc, but that does not guarantee eventual EU membership.

But Kiev has been calling for closer relations with the EU for years, making it clear it wants to be considered a future member of the bloc.

"We are historically a European country, and although we have wasted some time, and not always done our homework, this new government will do its best to make up for lost time," Ms Tymoshenko told MEPs later on Monday.

But the EU has so far not gone further than promising Ukraine closer political cooperation and a future free trade agreement.

Discussions on trade issues are expected to start soon, now that it has been announced that the country is to join the World Trade Organisation (WTO) next month.

Kiev's candidacy will be put to the WTO's General Council meeting on 5 February and then followed by a six-month ratification process, according to news agency AFP.


Remembering Ukraine's shameful past and the atrocities against Ukraine's Jewish community

Ukraine must not make heroes out of those that supported the NAZI invasion and extermination of Ukrainian Jewish families in shameful racist pogroms.

The rise of neo-NAZIs supported by US extremists whose tools of trade are threats,. abuse and intimidation is of growing concern. Their hidden agenda is not support for Ukraine or its economic or democratic development but their desire to spread their false ideology of hatred and violence.

BRUSSELS (EJP)---European Jewish Congress President, Moshe Kantor, has warned against the rising number of neo-Nazis in Europe.

Speaking at a special commemoration organized Monday evening in the European Parliament on the occasion of International Holocaust Remembrance Day, Kantor said : "There are more neo-Nazis than Jews today in Europe."
Kantor, who lost half of his family in the Shoah or Holocaust in Ukraine, deplored the " trivialization" of the neo-Nazi phenomenon and warned that "lessons of history have not been learned."
"We should not allow things to be repeated," he added, in the presence of the president of the European Parliament, Hans-Gert Poettering.
He called for the need to organize a very strong education in Europe and elsewhere about this darkest period of mankind.


Just how fragile and for how long will Yulia's Marriage of convenience last?

Ukrainian Journal has reported another reminder of the fragility of the relationship between Yulia Tymoshenko and The President, Viktor Yushchenko. Both Yulia and Yushchenko continue to fire warning shots across each others bow.

The warning shot was fired from Brussels during the prime-minister's visit. Yulia once again reminded Yushchenko that if he does not tow the line she will stand against him in the next Presidential election, ending Yushchenko's hopes for a second term. Viktor Yushchenko's political party "Our Ukraine", in spite the takeover of the People's Self Defence party, only managed to received 14% of the popular vote during the September 30 snap poll. The same percentage of vote "Our Ukraine" received in the March 2006 election. The combined support for Yulia Tymoshenko and Our Ukraine is less the 45%.

None of this does any good in shoring up confidence in Ukraine's political stability. There is ongoing concern that once the Yushchenko has restored authority and power in the office of the President the balance of power will swing back to the President who could then force the dismissal of Yulia's government and negotiate a deal on more favourable terms with the Party of Regions. The main stumbling block is Our Ukraine's policy of joining NATO and Ukraine's relationship to Russia.

Tymoshenko moots 2009 run for presidency

Journal Staff Report

BRUSSELS, Jan. 28 – Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko threatened on Monday to run for the presidency next year if disagreements between President Viktor Yushchenko and her government continue to persist or worsen.

Tymoshenko, who opinion polls show is more popular than Yushchenko, has been widely said by her opponents to be planning to run for the presidency. She had persistently denied the plans.

But now, speaking in Brussels, Tymoshenko said her decision will actually depend on Yushchenko.

“If our cooperation with Viktor Andriyovych Yushchenko is harmonious and balanced, if a single joint approach is demonstrated towards solving problems, there is no sense to nominate two candidates from the democratic coalition,” Tymoshenko said.

“Then I, with my limitless love to Ukraine, can support [Yushchenko]. But this must be a two-way street,” Tymoshenko said.


Monday, January 28, 2008

Party of Regions Foreshadows Early Elections Of The Parliament And President to be held Simultaneously

The Christmas break is over and the honeymoon is coming to an end - Now it's down to real politics.

Politics is the art of compromise and policy formation is part of the compromise.

The proposal to hold simultaneous Presidential and Parliamentary elections put forward by Party Regions is a policy worth supporting.

In order to make it work it will require some changes to the current electoral system. changes such as fixed dates for elections and the introduction of Preferential Instant run-off ballots.

Any decision by a head of state to dismiss a parliament without the support of a majority of the Parliamentary representatives should automatically trigger a simultaneous election. The President should be required to seek renewal of his or her mandate at the same time as the elected mandate. The term of office would need to be fixed to expire on a set date such as September 30. These are technical issues that can readily be addressed.

Party of Regions by signalling this policy is stating clearly that negotiations for meaningful constitutional reform will have to address these issues and that unless agreement can be reached constitutional reform will not be achievable.

The Party of Regions has also, once again, stated that the next election will be of it's choosing and that Ukraine can expect early elections. Elections that will be simultaneously held to elect a head of state and a new parliament.

The Tymoshenko's government is on tender hooks and the "democratic in name alone" coalition slender lead (less then 45% of the vote and a parliamentary majority of only 2 votes) gives little room for mistakes.
If fresh elections were held now chances are the Socialist Party would attack an additional 0.14% of the vote and the outcome of the election would change.

With under 45% of the vote the BYuT and Our Ukraine coalition are far from a certinatly to win the presidential election. Many of BYuT supporters are not happy with Yushchenko's performance and it is unlikely that they will support his election to a second term.

Voting support overall within Ukraine has not changed much and Ukraine is as divided as it was back in 2004 with little sign of any real change or compromise.

Two weeks is a long time in politics and nine months is even longer.

Source: Ukrainian News Agency

Parliamentary deputy Hanna Herman of the Regions Party factions allows for the Regions Party initiative of simultaneously holding early elections of the Verkhovna Rada and president.

She has disclosed this during an online conference at the GlavRed webzine.

"I do not rule out new parliamentary election. But that election will be held at the same time with the presidential one. The Regions Party quite may be initiators of such elections," said Herman.

In her words, in case of the power does not care about the interests of the electors in the east, in the centre of the country, if they derogate from rights of Russian-speaking citizens of Ukraine, the party allows for holding snap parliamentary and presidential elections.

As Ukrainian News earlier reported, Parliamentary Deputy Mykola Katerenchuk of the Our Ukraine-People's Self-Defense bloc said that he is not ruling out the possibility of early parliamentary elections at the initiative of the Regions Party.

The legal justification for organization of early parliamentary elections in 2007 was the decision of over 150 parliamentary deputies to relinquish their parliamentary mandates.

Parliamentary Deputy Nestor Shufrych of the Regions Party previously said that he was not ruling out the possibility of the Party of the Regions initiating organization of early parliamentary elections.

The Lytvyn Bloc's leader Volodymyr Lytvyn said in his turn, that it is necessary to hold one more early parliamentary election.


Things heading to anarchy – Azarov


Source: UNIAN

The government’s decree, allowing not to fulfill illegal court rulings, may cause anarchy in the state, Party of Regions lawmaker Mykola Azarov believes.

“The current authorities keep on creating terrible precedents for the state. The regular decision of the Cabinet of Ministers, allowing state power bodies not to fulfill court rulings, may cause legal impunity in the state. In my opinion, the Prosecutors’ Office, the Supreme Court, and the President, must give an assessment to this decision of the government”, M.Azarov claimed.

He is convinced that nobody has a right to neglect court rulings. “Court rulings are obligatory to fulfill. It concerns not only citizens, but also different organizations, first of all, state agencies, which must serve as an example of law-abiding”, he stressed.

M.Azarov emphasized that if anybody does not agree with a ruling, he may appeal against it. “But, not to fulfill court rulings is nonsense. If we strive to build a legal state, we have no right to neglect court rulings, as it is a way towards anarchy”, he said.

As UNIAN reported earlier, on January 23, the government adopted a resolution, allowing not to fulfill evidently illegal court rulings.

In his turn, Justice Minister Mykola Onyshchuk stressed that the decree clearly sets out that in such cases, state bodies should immediately appeal against these rulings in court.


Finland's Constitution worthy of consideration as a model for Ukraine

As Ukraine begins its fifth review of its Constitution it is worth taking a look at Finland's Constitution adopted in 1999.

Finland is a good example of an European Parliamentary democracy. both Countries border Russia and other EU states and Finland' s constitution would make a good model for Ukraine to consider.

If Ukraine sincerely wishes to be integrated and possible become a full member of then European Union then it must look to Europe and not the United States for its constitutional governance.

Most, if not all, the political crisis and struggles facing Ukraine have been as a direct result of the ongoing power struggle between the Office of the President and the elected Parliament.

Ukraine has only been a democracy for less then two years, and none months of that time was suspended as a result of the President's action designed to undermined Ukraine's democratic development.

The parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in April 21007 recommended that Ukraine consider adopting a fully-parliamentary system of governance in line with other European States. Finland constitution would be an excellent base for any proposed reform.

Had Ukraine ot listeed to the lieks of US Judge Futely ad had it adopted a Europe style Paralaimetray system as did Estoia, Latvia, Polad, Hungary, Slovakia and Romainia Ukraie would more the likely be a member of the Europe Union by now.

The choice is clear.

Ukraine can either return to the dark days of Presidential "rule by decree" dictatorship or take a step forward and the adopt of a full European Parliamentary "rule of law" democracy.

I know which one I would chose. Do you?


Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Retrograde Step

Presidential Law on Cabinet of Ministers seeks to unconstitutionally usurp power and authority from Ukraine's parliament

There is no rush for this new law to be passed. It can and should be deferred pending the review of the Courts and recommendations for proposed constitutional reform

The proposed new law on the Cabinet of Ministers, as outline in the article below, clearly is in breach of the constitution in that the President is seeking to usurp power and authority of the parliament by making the office of the president the sole authority to appoint the Prime-Minster, Defence Minister and Foreign affairs Minster.

"The provisions that stipulate that proposals on a candidate for the post of Prime Minister can be submitted by a coalition of parliamentary factions is withdrawn. This right remains exclusively with the President, as stipulated in the Constitution,» Shlapak said.

Moreover, according to him, the draft law clearly stipulates the reasons for which the President can reject a candidate for the post of Prime Minister. "

The statement above is false and misleading as the authority of appointment of Prime Minster, defence Minister and the Foreign Affairs does not lie with the President. The President has only the authority to make a submission on the appointment.

Yulia would be well advised to delay passing of the new Law on the Cabinet of Ministers pending the outcome of

1) the Constitutional Court review of the law as referred to the Court by Yushchenko in 2007.

2) review by the European Council's Venice Commission. Then and only then should parliament consider support for the proposed new law.

If this law is passed then undoubtedly it will be referred to the Constitutional Court for review by no less then 45 members of parliament. In the meantime the new law will be in force be it unconstitutional. Yulia should wait for the initial ruling before signing her own political death warrant.

In the absence of a detailed copy of the proposed law and based on the comments contained in the article below the President's proposed Law on the Cabinet of Ministers could very much be challenged and subject to review by Ukraine's Constitutional Court. (Assuming Yushchenko will not act to pervert the course of justice and interfere with the independence of Ukraine's Constitutional Court

The proposed law on the Cabinet as outlined below would see the President have sole authority in the nomination and appointment of who holds what position.

Currently the president only has the right of nomination or right to make a submission but the appointment is constitutionally the responsibility of the Parliament. Yushchenko's proposed Law seeks to usurp that power and authority and place absolute control back into the hands of the president. Such a Law would see Yulia Tymoshenko once again subject to dismissal and the appointment as the president's nominee.

The definition of what is and what is not constitutional ultimately can only be decided by Ukraine's Constitutional Court. The President specious claims that the current law on the Cabinet is unconstitutional has not been established. It is most likely that the proposed new law put forward by Yushchenko is unconstitutional.

Article 83 paragraph 8 of Ukraine's Constitution states:

A coalition of parliamentary factions in the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine submits to the President of Ukraine, in accordance with this Constitution, proposals concerning a candidature for the office of the Prime Minister of Ukraine and also, in accordance with this Constitution, submits proposals concerning candidatures for the membership of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine.

The above article clearly states that the Parliament is the body that makes a submission/nomination/proposal concerning the candidature for Prime-Minster and Cabinet Ministers

The authority to make the appointment as stated in Article 85 section (12) is the right of the parliament with the President maintaining the right to make a submission only : The decision of appointment is the Parliaments authority not the president's.

The authority of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine comprises:

(12) appointing to office - upon the submission by the President of Ukraine - the Prime Minister of Ukraine, the Minister of Defence of Ukraine, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine; appointing to office - upon the submission by the Prime Minister of Ukraine - other members of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine, the Chairperson of the Antimonopoly Committee of Ukraine, the Head of the State Committee on Television and Radio Broadcasting of Ukraine, and the Head of the State Property Fund of Ukraine; dismissing from office the officials mentioned above; deciding on the resignation of the Prime Minister of Ukraine and of members of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine;

Clearly it is the Parliament that makes the appointment of the Prime Minister ad members of the Cabinet 9I;including the Foreign Affairs Minister and Defence Ministers. The parliament can also dismiss members of the cabinet.

Article 106 clause 9 requires the president to perform certain administrative functions within a fifteen day period, in recognition of the authority and nomination of the parliament submitted under Article 83 as outlined above.

The President of Ukraine
(9) puts forward, upon the proposal by the parliamentary coalition formed in the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine as provided for by Article 83 of the Constitution of Ukraine, the submission on the appointment by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine of the Prime Minister of Ukraine, no later than fifteen days after the receipt of such a proposal;

Article 106 clause 10

Again states that the President has the right to make a submission on the appointment of Minster for defence and Minister of Foreign Affairs

It does not give the president the right to make the appointment which is clearly the prerogative and constitutional authority of the Parliament not the President

(10) puts forward to the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine the submission on the appointment of the Minister of Defence of Ukraine and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine;

Ukraine is a constitutional parliamentary democracy

The current law on the Cabinet of Ministers codifies the administrative procedures that govern the president's submission and the parliament's appointment. It does not takeaway the constitutional rights or obligations of the President. Howwver the new law as proposed by the office of the President most certainly appears to remove the rights and obligations of Ukraine's parliament.

Yushcheko's proposed new law seeks to reinstate presidential authority over government where the president has no power or authority to do so.

-- Extract from article --

President Viktor Yushchenko has proposed that the parliament adopt a new Law on Cabinet of Ministers.

Oleksandr Shlapak, the Presidential Secretariat’s first deputy head and presidential representative in the Cabinet of Ministers, announced this.

According to him, Yushchenko sent the relevant draft law to the parliament on January 10 for urgent consideration.

Shlapak said that this draft law provides for abrogating the current Law on Cabinet of Ministers because some of its provisions violate the Ukrainian Constitutions.

In particular, Shlapak explained that the draft law outlines procedures for forming a government in accordance with the requirements of the Constitution.

These procedures deal with submission of candidacies for the post of Prime Minister to the parliament.

«The provisions that stipulate that proposals on a candidate for the post of Prime Minister can be submitted by a coalition of parliamentary factions is withdrawn. This right remains exclusively with the President, as stipulated in the Constitution,» Shlapak said.

Moreover, according to him, the draft law clearly stipulates the reasons for which the President can reject a candidate for the post of Prime Minister.

The draft law also stipulates that the Defense Minister and the Foreign Affairs Minister are to be appointed exclusively at the initiative of the President and not at the initiative of the Prime Minister.

According to Shlapak, the draft law also provides for a mechanism according to which a candidate for the post of Prime Minister is to present the action program of his/her future government, and this mechanism stipulates that such a program should be based on political positions and programmatic tasks agreed by a coalition of parliamentary factions and that the program should be approved simultaneously with presentation of the Prime Minister.

The draft law also provides for improving the mechanism for interaction between government ministries and territorial agencies.

Moreover, it provides for changing the procedures for nominating candidates for posts of deputy minister: the current law stipulates that deputy ministers are to be appointed at the recommendation of the Prime Minister while the proposed law stipulates that deputy ministers are to be nominated by the relevant ministers at meetings of the Cabinet of Ministers.

Furthermore, Shlapak said that the draft law provides for restoring the President’s power to raise the issue of the Cabinet of Ministers’ responsibility with the parliament.

The draft law also regulates the issue of co-signing of presidential acts by the Prime Minister and individual ministers.

It also provides for the possibility of including members of the government and heads of other executive government organs in working groups set up by the President. The current Law on the Cabinet of Ministers prohibits this.


Saturday, January 12, 2008

One year ago in review - Yymoshenko: "Our Ukraine" Shames Ukraine world over

News / 12 January 2007 16:05

Tymoshenko: “Our Ukraine” shames Ukraine world over

BYuT leader Yulia Tymoshenko blamed “Our Ukraine” faction for block of the parliamentary tribune, standing up not for people’s interests but for interests of separate persons. The ForUm’s correspondent informs.

“I would like to focus your attention on the fact that “Our Ukraine” blocked tribunes not for pension or living wage raise, not to throw out “RosUkrEnergo” from Ukraine or to cut the tariffs on housing and municipal services. They blocked tribune for their own posts; to keep state administration under their power,” she said.

On behalf of the whole BYuT faction, Tymoshenko stressed that voting for adoption of law on the Cabinet without consideration President’s amendments, “we conscientiously liquidate conflict that destroys the State, the conflict among the President, speaker and PM; it is our aim to make order in the country and not to shame it by home policy scandals.”

Moreover Tymoshenko said “Our Ukraine” faction destroyed orange team and all what could be destroyed. “They lead the PM Yanukovych and after this blamed us in something. It is a shame on “Our Ukraine” that they try to keep chaos in the country,” Tymoshenko said.