KIEV, March 13 (Itar-Tass) —— A law on lifting parliamentary immunity may be adopted at the next session of the Ukrainian Verkhovna Rada, leader of the ruling Party of Regions’ faction Alexander Yefremov told a Tuesday press briefing.
“We have a draft law on lifting parliamentary immunity, which has been considered at the Constitutional Court. The opposition’s demand to lift presidential immunity is an insinuation,” he said.
The Party of Regions is ready to vote for the bill in the second reading, with due account of the Constitutional Court conclusions. “We will vote for this bill either this week or next week. A total of 226 votes are necessary. That is a constitutional norm, which means we may reconsider the bill only at the next session and the approval will require 300 votes. That is the procedure. If we gain 300 or more votes in the next session, the norm [parliamentary immunity] will be excluded from the constitution. In that case law enforcement proceedings will be the same for average citizens and for deputies,” he said.
Verkhovna Rada Vice-Speaker Nikolai Tomenko (the Yulia Timoshenko Bloc) said on Monday that the opposition was prepared for lifting parliamentary immunity in the case of lifting immunity of the president, judges and deputies. “We demand to hear this bill in the new format – it is also necessary to lift immunity of judges and the president. We are ready to vote right now, but only if not a single person in Ukraine is immune,” he said.
Yefremov views the appeal of the Yulia Timoshenko Bloc to lift immunity of the president as “a sign of the opposition unwillingness to lift its own immunity.” “The constitution provides immunity of the president, and the Constitutional Court expressed its opinion on the issue earlier. Hence, the declared readiness to approve the bill in the new edition means that the bill will be buried,” Yefremov said.