Whose work was assessed as unsatisfactory?
(On the retirement of Yushchenkos government)
F. Venislavskiy, candidate of law, Kharkov
Not a single government of Ukraine during the ten years of its independence provoked as many hot debates both among politicians and among public as Yushchenkos government. A rather wonderful situation was observed: as a rule, people in the street actively supported the government, whereas the so-called ‘parliamentary majority criticized the government for their shortcomings, from which allegedly suffer the very people in the street.
It is certainly impossible to analyze in one article profoundly and in details all the main and secondary reasons of the situation around Yushchenkos government. This was not the authors goal. But one aspect, very important in our opinion, in the mutual relations of the cm our opinion, in the mutual relations of the Cabinet of Ministers and Supreme Rada in March – April of the current year must be analyzed. We mean the constitutional and legal relations of the parliament and the government concerning to the activities of the latter.
Nowadays not only professional lawyers, but also common public know well that the state power in Ukraine is organized and realized according to commonly accepted democratic principles: accounting for its division into the legislative, executive and juridical branches. Another fact is also well known: the main task of the legislative power is the creation and adoption of laws, the executive power must execute the laws, and the juridical power must solve discussions about the right. God knows why, but the above-listed obvious truths have become rater obscure today. This relates not only modest citizens, but to some national mass media and, what is more amazing, even for the majority of MPs, who represent the very organ of legislative power -- Supreme Rada of Ukraine.
We have in mind the report of Yushchenko to the Parliament and the related events. For example, announcers of the national TV channel ‘Inter in their analysis of the shortcomings in the work of the Cabinet of Ministers for the past year affirm without hesitation that the main drawbacks in the work of the government were, first, not adoption of the tax and some other codes and, secondly, failures in realization of some structural economic reforms. It is very doubtful that professional journalists of the TV channel, as well as their bosses, do not know some obvious truths: first, that a code is only one variety of a legal act, which, according to the Constitution of Ukraine, only the Supreme Rada has the right to adopt, and, secondly, that the structural economic reforms may be carried out only when the corresponding legal ground exists, only after the adoption by the Supreme Rada of the necessary laws (it is the same to cook soup without water). That is why in this case the fundamental principles of informational relations are violated, the principles stipulated by the Law ‘On information. These are the principles of objectivity and accuracy of information. Such practice nowadays is not amazing, since it became standard in Ukraine.
Much more astonishing is another circumstance. We mean the attitude of most MPs to the assessment of Yushchenkos report that was delivered on 17 April 2001 and the parliamentary vote on no confidence to the government, which took place on 25 April. According to the assessments of many politicians (including those, whose attitude was anti-governmental), who spoke on TV and radio, the Cabinet of Ministers had fulfilled its program by about 60%. This figure makes the decision on the no confidence doubtful. But we want to consider another angle. As is known, some political forces in the Supreme Rada lately insisted on signing various ‘political agreements, ‘memorandums, etc. about the ‘joint responsibility of the parliament and government for the results of the work of the latter. To say nothing about the anti-Constitution character of such demands, we remark that the operating Constitution envisages such responsibility (although it is done indirectly).
We mean the Program of work of the Cabinet of Ministers, which, according to item 11 of Article 85 of the Constitution, must be considered and approved by the Supreme Rada. This Program must include not only the main directions of the government activities in the forthcoming year, but also concrete steps, which the government plans to realize. What the approval by the Parliament means from the viewpoint of the power division? On the one hand, this means that the government obtains the vote on confidence from the Supreme Rada, and thus, according to Article 87 of the Constitution, the Rada may not consider the question of the responsibility of the government during one year. On the other hand, the Parliament, having approved the government program, takes on itself political and legal responsibility for the proper provision of the legal aspect, which is not less important. In other words, the Supreme Rada agrees to adopt such laws that are needed for the proper juridical base of the government efficient activities. These two sides must be considered as closely linked. It is senseless to speak about any ‘carte blanche without the needed laws.
In this process the Cabinet of Ministers facilitates the task of the Parliament: as a subject with the right of a legal initiative, the government sent to the Supreme Rada a large package of law drafts. Most of them were handed to the President, who acknowledged some of them as urgent. That makes the Parliament consider the drafts out of turn (Article 93 of the Constitution).
The Supreme Rada should have adopted these laws and thus to empower the government to execute the Program (which, we recall, was approved by the same parliament). It is surprising, but all this did not happen. Thus, according to the data given by I. Pliushch, the speaker of the Parliament, on the plenary meeting of the seventh session of the Supreme Rada on 17 April 2001, more than one hundred drafts (58%) continue to be regarded in various committees of the Rada, thus they may not be considered at plenary sessions. The situation at the seventh session was not better: only 37 law drafts out of 142 included into the agenda were considered. Two thirds of these drafts were marked by the President as urgent.
So the Parliament never attempted to fulfil his legislative functions, but violated straight away Article 93 of the Constitution. As the result, the Program of work of the Cabinet of Ministers became deprived of legal base. In spite of all this Yushchenkos government managed to execute the Program by as many as 60%! Is it possible to assess the work of the government under such conditions as ‘unsatisfactory? Is it the assessment of the government only? Why do the heads of the parliament fractions that make the so-called ‘majority forget their appeals for the ‘joint responsibility of the parliament and the government? Why d the former vote against the law drafts so often? They spoke, discussing the government report, nly about various shortcomings of the government, never mentioning their own role. It should be stressed that, during the discussion of the report, MPs did not air a single convincing argument that would objectively testify that the work of the government was unsatisfactory.
Moreover, the MPs from the ‘parliamentary majority do not conceal that the main reason of both the negative assessments of the work of Cabinet of Ministers and the vote of no-confidence were not serious economic breakdowns which led to the abrupt fall of the living standard in the country. The main reason is quite different. It is not in the sphere of economic relations and living standard, but completely in the sphere of politics. Both representatives of the ‘parliamentary majority and many mass media openly confess that the main reason of the dismissal of the government is the consequent behavior of the Prime-Minister, who did not want to meet the demands of some political forces in the Supreme Rada and did not want to create the coalition government. However, all of them are silent about such demands being absolutely anti-constitutional. The operating Constitution is quite clear and distinct in describing the procedure of forming a Cabinet of Ministers. According to the Constitution, the parliament has, at first, the duty to create the Law ‘On the Cabinet of Ministers (which, by the way, doe not exist yet), and, secondly, to give the consent to the candidature of the Prime-Minister. Other constitutional rights in this sphere, including the personnel of the Cabinet of Ministers, the parliament does not have. The members of the ‘parliamentary majority, who almost unanimously voted against Yushchenkos government, know it very well.
A rhetoric question arises: what do these political forces wish to achieve for themselves and for Ukraine as a whole? Whose interests do they back in the parliament: national of any others? Unfortunately, the Ukrainian people will feel the answer on their own skin. And very soon at that. Since Yushchenkos government has been already dismissed.