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Legal experts: Yanukovych’s ‘initiative’ to hold early presidential elections can only be carried out after his resignation

Serhiy Sachenko, Jurliga

Viktor Yanukovych published a statement on his website today confirming his agreement to hold early presidential elections. However, in order to carry this out, he must first meet some legal requirements.

Legal experts at Liga Zakon agency analyzed yesterday’s statement, in which Yanukovych agreed to hold early presidential elections. Their verdict is simple: the legal implementation of this initiative is only possible after his resignation from office. Such a resignation becomes legal only after the president personally announces it during a session of the Verkhovna Rada, as set forth in Article 109 of the Constitution of Ukraine. Verkhovna Rada’s approval of the resignation is not required.

After the president announces his resignation, Verkhovna Rada must pass a resolution on early presidential elections. The date of the election must be no earlier than 90 days from the date of the resolution under the Law on the Election of the President of Ukraine, Article 17, Section 2. After the resignation of the president, his duties are temporarily performed by the prime minister, according to to Constitution of Ukraine, Article 112.

Mykhaylo Savchyn, head of the Uzhgorod National University Law Center, said that in his opinion, the president of Ukraine can announce his resignation at any time. For example, he can choose to cite poor health interfering with his presidential duties as the reason for his resignation, with no obligation to provide proof of said poor health.

Negotiations aimed at solving the political crisis in Ukraine were held on 21 February. The participants included President Viktor Yanukovych, opposition leaders, and representatives of the European Union and the Russian Federation.

Translated by Anna Palagina

Edited by Mariana Budjeryn and Robin Rohrback

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