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22.06.2008

“A New Constitution –Civic Society’s Position”

   

As participants in Ukraine’s Second Civic Assembly we are forced to acknowledge that the critical reservations which the First Civic Assembly made a year ago have come true. The government and opposition have not heeded the demands and suggestions of Ukraine’s civic organizations. The political crisis has not only deepened, but has turned into constant political instability.

The early elections proved to be a temporary compromise and did not act as the spur for systematic political and socio-economic changes. The process of constitutional reform talked about so much by politicians from different camps has turned into a subject of political manipulation to serve the private corporate objectives of particular politicians and factions. Disregard for legal norms has taken on dangerous proportions and has become an everyday thing. This is leading to the degradation of the legal system of the country, threatening citizens’ freedom, safety and ability to function, and could therefore undermine Ukraine’s statehood.

These features of crisis have taken on the clear and system signs of a direct threat for the future development of society and existence of the State.

The participants in Ukraine’s Second Civic Assembly therefore, aware of our responsibility before all the citizens of Ukraine state:

The Constitution is the basis for the development of society and the building of the State, and the existence of each citizen is dependent on it. The Constitution should be a true public contract, and not a temporary compromise between politicians and clans. Nobody has the right to appropriate the exclusive right of the people in the republic, namely the right of constituent power. No politician has the right to use the political crisis and instability in order to push for their clan-based variants of constitutional reform.

We demand that the President, higher government bodies, leading politicians and public officials:

  • put an end to manipulative attempts to make changes to the Constitution in a hasty fashion, without broad public discussion and the introduction of an institution of constituent power until the political crisis is resolved;
  • return to recognition and implementation of the current Constitution and laws of Ukraine, first and foremost through the creation of an honest, just and transparent judiciary as the guarantee of citizens’ rights and freedoms;
  • adopt amendments to the Constitution or a special law which will allow for the calling of a Constitutional Assembly to draw up and pass a new Constitution., the delegates of which will be elected directly and will not have the right over the next 10 years to stand for office or be appointed to the highest government bodies;
  • as a matter of urgency pass new electoral legislation, legislation on a referendum and legislation on political parties which will pave the way for radical improvement of the quality of the political process in Ukraine. This would involve the introduction of a system of open candidate lists at all levels; a partial return to the majority system at local elections, as well as detailing the norms of internal party democracy and strengthening answerability of deputies to their voters;

We are convinced that the new Constitution should guarantee:

  • real inviolability of rights and freedoms in accordance with the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms;
  • implementation of the principle of the rule of law
  • the real possibility for the effective self-development of Ukrainian society, the formation of a healthy, intellectually and culturally mature nation;
  • a European model of governance together with effective mechanisms of answerability of the authorities and public officials to members of the public;
  • effective administrative and territorial system based on democratic decentralization of public authorities;
  • a reformed and uncorrupted judiciary;
  • institutionalized mechanisms for public control over the authorities.

We will seek the fulfilment of these demands through all legal means and will carry out active civic activities, including:

  • monitoring of all branches of power to ensure effective dialogue between the authorities and the public on issues related to the constitutional reforms and overcoming political instability;
  • active involvement of civic organizations of all regions in the process of constitutional reform;
  • carry out awareness-raising measures and civic influence campaigns;
  • actively seeking to influence positive changes in regional policy, as well as upholding the interests of local communities when taking political decisions at central level;
  • ensuring public control over the work of the authorities and political forces;
  • defending human rights and civil liberties;

People, let’s create a new Constitution and reform the country together!

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