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Ukrainian MPs fail to reach compromise solution on constitutional reform

February 04, 2014, 23:46 UTC+3 KIEV

The evening session lasted less than twenty minutes and the constitutional reform in the country turned into a stumbling block

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KIEV, February 04, 23:30 /ITAR-TASS/. First day of a regular session of Ukraine’s Verkhovna Rada brought about no convincing results.

The evening session lasted less than twenty minutes and the constitutional reform in the country turned into a stumbling block.

Rada speaker Vladimir Rybak said no documents regarding the reform of the nation’s constitutional system had been registered in parliament yet, and a decision was taken in the light of it to round up the session early and to launch talks between the parliamentary factions on the issue.

Alexander Yefremov, the chief of the parliamentary faction of the country’s ruling Party of Regions said the parliamentary majority had offered the opposition to draft a new Constitution and to vote for it on April 15, 2014.

On the face of it, the opposition was rejecting the proposals to adopt a new Constitution and it insisted instead on reverting to the Basic Law of 2004.

“Opposition leaders say we must reactivate the Constitution of 2004,” Yefremov said. “We’re ready to consider a return to the parliamentary/presidential republic but the opposition would like to confine everything to reinstating the /previous/ Constitution, for which purpose they want to pass a resolution of the Rada that would annul a resolution of the Constitution Court.”

He described the oppositionists’ proposals as “unprofessional in the highest degree.”

Yefremov recalled that that a Constitutional Assembly under the leadership of former President Leonid Kravchuk had been set up. He quoted Kravchuk as saying the Constitution could be amended only in a legitimate way if the Ukrainians wanted the international community and Ukrainian society to recognize it.

The problem of the constitutional reform was discussed Tuesday at a meeting between President Viktor Yanukovich and the international boxing star Vitaly Klichko, who stands at the head of UDAR party.

“President Yanukovich said the process of altering the Constitution might take from one month to six months, while the current situation didn’t offer any reserves of time for it,” Klichko said. “Our proposal is to register a constitutional act, to get the necessary votes and to vote for a return of the Constitution of 2004.”

He added that the candidacy of a possible new Prime Minister had not been discussed at the meeting.

Ukraine’s Communist Party aired its own stance on the constitutional reform. “We believe that only one compromise solution is possible - the functions of the President should confine to accepting the credentials and presenting the state awards.”

“As one more element of the constitutional and political reform, the Communist Party proposes to convert Ukraine into a federation,” party leader Pyotr Simonenko said at the session.

He believes that each territorial community “will decide on its own what language it should speak and what traditions it should foster and what values it should hold dear.”

“The threat of a civil war is looming large today and full blame for it goes to those who would talk about democracy more than all others all the time,” he said.

In the meantime, authorities in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea said they would cut short any encroachments on the region’s status. “We’ll defend our interests toughly and will hold up our positions persistently in the sense that Crimea is an autonomous republic,” regional Prime Minister Anatoly Mogilyov said.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister promised to offer a harsh reaction to any territorial claims to Ukraine. Ministry spokespeople told Itar-Tass Foreign Minister Leonid Kozhara had said in an interview with a Ukrainian TV channel earlier in the day that articles published in a number of Romanian and Turkish media had indicated the presence of territorial claims to Ukraine.

“I’d like to stress the absence of any official statements on the issue but should they be made, we’ll issue tough assessments on our part then,” Kozhara said.

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