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Ukraine's ruling party wants to set up a special commission on Constitution amendments

February 06, 2014, 16:12 UTC+3 KIEV
The faction is ready to uphold the proposal that the commission be headed by a member of the opposition
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KIEV, February 06. /ITAR-TASS/. The faction of the ruling Party of Regions in the Verkhovna Rada is ready to vote in favor of setting up a provisional special commission on amendments to the Constitution of Ukraine, faction leader Alexander Yefremov told Itar-Tass on Thursday.

"We are ready to vote, even without the opposition's participation, on a bill that introduces amendments [to the Constitution] concerning a reversion to the parliamentary-and-presidential form of government," Yefremov pointed out.

He said the faction is ready to uphold the proposal that the commission be headed by a member of the opposition. "If the opposition agrees, we are ready to support a member of the opposition for the post of commission head. A deputy head will be appointed from us, and the commission will be formed on the basis of quota representation," the faction leader said.

Yefremov stated that a final decision on a reinstatement of the Constitution in the 2004 wording would be made in September. "We must vote on the matter twice at the current session, and reach out to a final vote in September 2014,” Yefremov emphasized.

On Thursday the MPs did not uphold the first attempt at setting up a special provisional parliamentary commission on preparing a bill on the introduction of amendments to Ukraine's Constitution about a reversion to the parliamentary-and-presidential form of government. "At this moment in the Verkhovna Rada there is no bill concerning reforms of the Constitution," he pointed out.

"Not a single such bill has been registered. Meanwhile, many expect that the Verkhovna Rada will address this matter on Thursday. We may not fail the people's expectations. Therefore I suggest considering the question of setting up a special provisional parliamentary commission that will deal with this matter," the Parliament Speaker said. He proposed moving on to this item on the agenda without a debate. However, only 180 MPs voted for the proposal, whereas the necessary number of votes to carry the proposal is 226.

Constitution reform

In 2004, a political reform was carried out in Ukraine. As a result, Ukraine switched from the presidential-and-parliamentary to a parliamentary-and-presidential government system.

In October 2010, Ukraine reverted to the Constitution adopted in 1996. The Constitutional Court ruled that the political reform had been carried out with numerous violations. Following the abrogation of the constitutional reform of 2004, the president not only regained broader powers but also extended his authority.

Infographics Euromaidan riots in Ukraine Euromaidan riots in Ukraine
Map of Ukraine showing the escalation of anti-government riots by region. ITAR-TASS Infographics

Viktor Yanukovich gained the right to independently make a decision on a candidacy for the post of Prime Minister, and refer it to the parliament for consideration, and dismiss Prime Minister. Earlier, he was not able to do that, because Head of Government had been elected by Verkhovna Rada members independently. The President obtained the right to appoint and dismiss any minister, as well as Prosecutor-General and chief of the Security Service of Ukraine. Before that, only Defense and Foreign ministers had been appointed on his suggestion. Besides, the President independently appoints heads of the State Property Foundation and the Antimonopoly Committee, and has a right to institute, reorganize or abolish any executive power body.

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