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10.09.2007

On Constitutional Reforms

   

Statement from civic organizations, public figures, and members of the media

There is an urgent need for the mistakes made in Ukraine’s constitutional development to be rectified. Since the beginning of the election campaign various political factions have put forward different proposals for constitutional reforms. They cover both varying relations regarding the rights and powers of the authorities, and different ways of introducing amendments to the Constitution. There has even been the proposal to draw up an entirely new document.

For this reason civic organizations and their leaders from most Ukrainian regions wish to warn political factions and the authorities that the creation of a new Constitution cannot be a matter for one party alone, or for those people who have made politics their profession or occupation. Ukraine needs a new public contract between citizens, enshrined in a new version of the Constitution.

A public contract as a comprehensive outline of the principles and rules for coexistence in society is a matter for civic society itself. The role of the government should be to ensure the coordination, protection and implementation of the public interest. The Constitution must receive the endorsement of civic society which those members of society who take on political functions must comply with.

We therefore state:

  1. It is the citizens of Ukraine who must be the main players in the constitutional process since they are effectively the founders of their own State. In this role they must develop rules for their own self-organization, the organization of a system of governance and conditions for the employment and functioning of the system’s managers, i.e. politicians.
  2. The newly-elected Verkhovna Rada in its sixth term should pass only those changes to the Constitution which allow for the calling of a founding meeting of a Constitutional Assembly for adopting a new Ukrainian Constitution.
  3. The delegates of the Constitutional Assembly should be elected only by Ukrainian citizens and not have the right to stand for any electoral office for the next 10 years. They will thus draw up a Constitution not for themselves or for their parties, but for the common good.
  4. The Constitution drawn up by the Constitutional Assembly should, after extensive public discussion, be put to a national referendum of direct action. This will need to be followed by regular elections to local and central government.

Any attempts to impose an artificial party-coalition constitution on society by parliamentary decision, to carry out an advisory questionnaire-type referendum with equivocal questions, or to put to the national vote any text drawn up only by constitutional lawyers are measures aimed at manipulating public opinion and will inevitably lead to new public conflict. This will result in an ineffective Constitution since it will not be recognized by a part of society and will be a temporary measures since it will nonetheless be necessary to return to the starting point in order to ensure that Ukraine moves forward.

THE CONSTITUTION IS TOO IMPORTANT TO BE ENTRUSTED TO POLITICIANS

1. Committee on Monitoring Press Freedom in the Crimea
2.  Donetsk Branch of the Committee of Voters of Ukraine
3. Kirovohrad Association “Civic Initiative”
4. Independent Trade Union of Miners of the Barakov Mine in Krasnodon
5. Luhansk Regional civic human rights women’s organization “Chaika”
6. Ukrainian cultural independent journal “J”
7. Association of taxpayers of the Lviv region
8. Director for the Laboratory of Social Research of the Centre for the Support of Private Initiative, Lviv

9. Lviv Civic Forum

10. “Lviv Newspaper”
11. League of Women Voters 50/50, Lviv
12. Lviv Regional Branch of the All-Ukrainian Project in Support of Doctors’ Rights
13. Lviv Regional Branch of the Civic Organization “Ukrainian Experts”

14. Association of Medical Workers’ Trade Unions in the Lviv Region

15. Ukrainian Cultural Movement

16. Society of Residential Owners, Lviv
17.Intellectual-Professional Forum, Lviv
18. Association of Children’s Environmental Groups “Dovkillya” [“Environment”], Lviv

19. All-Ukrainian Civic Organization “Successful Ukraine”
20. Institute of Contemporary Issues in Ukraine, Kyiv
21. Newspaper “Contrast”, Kyiv
22. Newspaper “Information Bulletin”, Kremenchug
23. NGO “For the rights of each of us” (Kremenchug)
24. Sumy Regional Branch of the Committee of Voters of Ukraine
25. Konotop Society of Consumers and Taxpayers “Hidnist” [“Dignity”], ( Konotop, Sumy Region)
26. Sumy City Branch of the Committee of Voters of Ukraine
27. Sumy Regional Committee of Youth Organizations
28. Sumy Regional Organization “Sumy Press Club”

29. Sumy Civic and Political Centre “Open Society”

30. Environmental-Humanitarian Association "Zeleny svit" [“Green World”]

31. Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group

32. Kharkiv Branch of the Committee of Voters of Ukraine

33. Kharkiv Human Rights Organization “Prava ludyny” [“Human Rights”

 34. Kherson Regional Fund for Charity and Health
35. Newspaper “Vhoru” [“Upwards”], Kherson
36. Kherson civic organization “Rozvytok” [“Development”]
37. Civic Organization “M’ART” [Youth Alternative]
38. Luhansk Regional Civic Organization “Our Choice”

 

The statement has, at present, been signed by a further 40-50 individuals, with a site for adding ones own signature provided at: http://www2.maidan.org.ua/n/petit/1189426175



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