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01.10.2010

Venice Commission questions Constitutional Court ruling

   

The Council of Europe’s advisory body expressed bewilderment in Ukraine’s Constitutional Court ruling today that resulted in giving the president vast powers and invalidating constitutional amendments accepted in 2004.
Composed of independent experts on constitutional law, the Venice Commission said that it never considered the 2004 Constitution to be undemocratic.
“It was surprising to learn that the Constitution had been declared invalid after six years of being in operation (and being applied by the Constitutional Court itself). This is unusual,” said Thomas Markert, secretary of the Venice Commission.
“According to European practice, the scope of this kind of Constitutional Court control is normally rather limited,” he added.
The court’s decision climaxed a steady consolidation of power by the 60-year-old President Viktor Yanukovych since he was elected on Feb. 7
The ruling, which was sought by Yanukovych’s ruling Party of Regions-led coalition in parliament, gives the president powers to appoint government members, with only his choice of prime minister needing parliamentary approval. He also has the right to dismiss the government without parliamentary approval and can cancel any government resolution.
The court ruling will be discussed at the next Venice Commission plenary session in Venice on Oct. 15-16.

Mark Rachkevych

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