Saturday, December 12, 2009

Standing at the edge - waiting to jump

Ukraine's presidential election is not a contest but will determine Ukraine's future direction.
In 2004 Ukraine made an important step forward when it adopted amendments to it's constitution.  In doing so it took an important step towards democracy and European integration.
A strong head of state does not equate or necessitate a return to a soviet style presidential system
The proposals put forward by Viktor Yushchenko and supported by the likes of Viktor Medvedchuk would see Ukraine revert back to a Soviet style Presidential autocracy and in doing so would prevent Ukraine from becoming anything other then an associate member of the European Union.
Ukraine needs a head of state who truly values democracy and understand the need and long term benefits of Ukraine embracing a European parliamentary system of governance.
25 out of 27 EU states are governed by a parliamentary system. France and Cyprus being the only two that are not.  France is an established parliamentary-presidential system. It has protocols, conventions and limitations to presidential authority.  Cyprus is in need of serious reform.
If Ukraine reverts back to a presidential system then Europe should make it clear that in doing so it runs the risk of forsaking any hope of ever becoming anything other then an associate member state.
Ukraine has not known anything other then how to be dominated by autocratic figures. It has never been and will never be an independent democratic state under a presidential authority.
If Ukraine wants to become an independent European state then it must embrace self governance and take collective responsibility for its own destiny. It must become a  full parliamentary democracy.
The European Council - Venice Commission should be requested to draft a model constitution and encourage member states to consider adopting its provisions.  Any prospective member state should be assessed on the basis of the model.  The model should outline basic human rights provisions and guarantee the rights of fair democratic representation based in the principle of one vote one value.