Verkhovna Rada fails to elect a Human Rights Ombudsperson
With the result suggesting either intrigue or disagreement within the ruling majority, the Verkhovna Rada on Thursday failed to provide sufficient support for either candidate put forward as potential Human Rights Ombudsperson. Yevhen Zakharov, Co-Chair of the Kharkiv Human Rights Group and Head of the Board of the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union had the support of a considerable number of Ukrainian NGOs and the opposition in parliament had stated that he was the candidate they would be voting for in the secret ballot. The Party of the Regions had expressed their support for Valeria Lutkovska, the current Government Representative to the European Court of Human Rights, whose signature is on the government’s response denying any irregularities in the detention of Yury Lutsenko. Ms Lutkovska refused to answer a question from the opposition in the Verkhovna Rada on Thursday regarding her position with respect to the prosecution of Yulia Tymoshenko and Yury Lutsenko. She said she would answer after the question of the Ombudsperson post was decided.
Each analyst gives different reasons for why the results of the voting were indecisive. The only thing that is clear is that there had been indications well before the vote that something was going on behind the scenes.
Yevhen Zakharov received 134 votes, Valeria Lutkovska – 212, this being 14 less than the necessary majority.
The law stipulates that the Verkhovna Rada now has 20 days to put forward new candidates.