Lesia Orobets on the 2004 Constitution

2014/02/23 • Analysis & Opinion

FB post, February 21, 2014

Many discussions are taking place now about the return of the 2004 Constitution. Is it necessary and what are the advantages?

I will attempt to provide key arguments. Undoubtedly, the key demand remains the resignation of Yanukovych and the punishment of all responsible for crimes against humanity. The 2004 Constitution provides mechanisms to achieve these goals, even if not as promptly as we would like.

1. Right now, the following may be the most important point. The Parliament appoints and dismisses the head of the Security Service of Ukraine at the request of the President. It also consents to the appointment and dismissal of the Prosecutor General of Ukraine (Article 85). In doing so, the Parliament may express no confidence in the Prosecutor General of Ukraine, resulting in his resignation. Therefore, the question of dismissing Pshonka, the current Prosecutor General, and then bringing him to face justice becomes only a matter of time. Nonetheless, he could escape.

2. Also, under the new Constitution, the majority in Parliament recommends the Prime Minister and the composition of the Cabinet. The President participates in the formation of the Cabinet only by submitting a list of candidates to be confirmed by the Parliament. These positions are Prime Minister, Minister of Defense and Minister of Foreign Affairs. The remaining composition of Parliament is formed without his participation.

 3. Any laws not signed by the President disappears since their veto is surmounted by Parliament. Therefore, if the President of Ukraine does not sign a given law, the law is promptly promulgated, by the chairman of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine and published under his signature (Article 94).

4. At the National Bank of Ukraine, as was previously the case, the right to propose legislation disappears  (Article 93). Before, bankers rather warmly welcomed the availability of such an initiative, but in light of recent events, they undoubtedly will be delighted at returning to the prior rules..

5. Now, the President may suspend acts of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine solely on the grounds of non-compliance with the Constitution.  The President can then appeal to the Constitutional Court of Ukraine to asses their constitutionality. The President can no longer do as he pleases, as was the case in the 1996 Constitution (Article 106).

6. The President loses veto power over laws adopted by the Parliament of Ukraine amending the Constitution of Ukraine (Article 106).

7. In the event of early termination of powers of the President of Ukraine, the performance of his duties during the period before the election and assumption of office of the new President of Ukraine will now be vested with the Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, and not the Prime Minister (Article 112).

8. It is no longer the President but the Cabinet that establishes, reorganizes and dismisses ministries and other central executive bodies in accordance with the law. Upon submittal by the Prime Minister of Ukraine, the Cabinet also appoints and dismisses the heads of the central executive bodies not included in the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine (Article 116).

9. The Chamber of Accounts, in addition to overseeing the use of funds, will again have the control of revenues that support the State Budget of Ukraine. (Article 98)

10. In cases where the deputy is elected from a political party electoral bloc but fails to join the faction of this political party or leaves such a faction, the new-old Constitution calls for the powers of a national deputy to end prematurely. This, in particular, explains the mass exodus from the Party of Regions. It will become painful to do this.

11.With the return of the coalition there is also the return of risks. Yes, the President of Ukraine now has to right to terminate the powers of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine early. For example: If the plenary sessions do not begin within thirty days of a regular session,  if a coalition of deputy factions is not formed within a month, or iif for 60 days following the resignation of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine the personal composition of a new Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine is not formed (Article 90).  Still, this may be right — if they cannot agree with each other, let them pass electoral inspection again.

Yes, the Constitution of 2004 is far from being a panacea. But it weakens Yanukovych. He’s now incapable of coming to the Parliament and use his power. Parliament knows the rules of the game and they will devour Yanukovych themselves, as they remember how he tried to control them.

So, even though the changes are a small step, it is a step toward implementing the highest priority through peaceful means. Enough blood has been spilled. We must destroy these vampires without new deaths of innocent people.

source: https://www.facebook.com/lesyaorobets/posts/665536230148959

Translated by Anna Mostovych

edited by Michael Donovan

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