How to Overcome the Political Crisis
A consortium of major Ukrainian think-tanks – the Ukrainian Centre for Economic and Political Studies named after Olexander Razumkov, the Centre for Political and Legal Reforms, and the Institute for Economic Research and Policy Consulting – with support of the International Renaissance Foundation – organized, on April 23, 2007, a gathering of opinion makers and leading independent experts of Ukraine with the view of pronouncing their vision of how to overcome the current political crisis.
As a result of the meeting, the following APPEAL was written and made public during a press-conference at INTERFAX-Ukraine on 27 April 2007.
We, the signatories of this appeal, are extremely troubled by the prolonged political crisis in Ukraine and the lack of progress towards its resolution. Further deepening of the crisis threatens to split the country, places its unity under doubt, and undermines the international communitys trust in Ukraine.
We believe that the crisis was caused by imperfect and insufficiently legitimate constitutional changes, which upset the balance of power; the inability and reluctance of political forces to coexist and to collaborate in the name of national interests, to come to arrangements and to stick to them; the dominance of individual and narrow political interests over national ones; the violation of the Constitution and laws of Ukraine; the selective application of legislation; the weakness of institutions that guarantee the rule of law and democracy, first and foremost the weakness of the judicial branch; and the lack of separation between politics and business.
We welcome the readiness of all friends of Ukraine to help in getting over the crisis with outside advice and recommendations. We note that it is important that Ukrainian politicians take into consideration the PACE Resolution of April 19, 2007. However, we believe that the crisis has to be resolved solely based on our own efforts.
We consider any verdict of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine will not resolve the political crisis completely, and, therefore, the optimal solution is via political-legal compromise, which will include an agreement of all political forces as to the necessity of holding early parliamentary elections.
In order to avoid turning the existing crisis into a permanent one, early parliamentary elections should be preceded by:
· Establishment of effective dialogue among all participants of the conflict;
· Resumption of the full functioning of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, with the goal of passing laws necessary for reaching a compromise and holding legitimate elections;
· A refusal to make radical appeals and take measures that aggravate the situation, and to drag the public into street conflicts;
· An end to political speculation regarding issues that divide society and destroy the unity of the country;
· A weighed and responsible position by the mass media, which shouldnt be an instrument of political propaganda and artificial escalation of conflict among people.
In order to ensure the legitimacy of early parliamentary elections, it is necessary to make changes to the Law "On the Election of National Deputies of Ukraine," which should foresee the holding of elections on a proportional basis, the introduction of open regional lists, the renunciation of raising the election threshold, and the creation of conditions allowing people to realize their right to make an informed choice in their representatives to Parliament.
We are convinced that the interests of society call for compromise, the principal components of which should be: the legally guaranteed protection of the rights of the opposition, and the reaching of a principal agreement, and, if possible, the passage of laws prior to the elections that delineate spheres of responsibility between the President and Government of Ukraine, the most important of which is the renewed Law "On the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine" and the Law "On the President of Ukraine."
In order to prevent future crises of state power in Ukraine, we believe that its necessary to immediately commence collaboration towards improving the Constitution of Ukraine. Such work should be done through the creation of a Constitutional Commission, which should include experts, politicians, and representatives of the public.
We hope that the politicians are capable of compromise for the sake of Ukraine.
Vil Bakirov, Rector, Kharkiv University
Ihor Burakovsky, think-tank leader
Yevhen Bystrytsky, think-tank leader
Valeriy Chalyi, think-tank leader
Olexandr Dergachov, political scientist
Oleksa Haiworonski, historian writer
Igor Kogut, think-tank leader
Ihor Koliushko, think-tank leader
Mykola Koziubra, professor of law
Stanislav Kulchytsky, academician,
Andrei Kourkov, writer
Ilko Kucheriv, think-tank leader
Volodymyr Mostovy, editor-in-chief, Weekly Mirror
Volodymyr Nudelman, professor
Olexandr Paskhaver, economist
Igor Popov, think-tank leader
Myroslav Popovych, philosopher, academician
Anatoly Rachok, think-tank leader
Yuri Scherbak, publicist, professor
Ihor Yukhnovsky, academician
Nataliya Yakovenko, historian
Yaroslav Yatskiv, academician
Oksana Zabuzhko, writer
Yevhen Zaharov, human rights activist
Josef Zisels, human rights activist