Constitutional Court simplifies dismissal of Parliamentary Speaker
The Constitutional Court has stepped in a week after Verkhovna Rada Speaker Volodymyr Lytvyn tendered his resignation following the blitzkrieg “vote” on the highly controversial language law in his absence.
In a judgement released today the Court found unconstitutional the current procedure (certain articles of the Verkhovna Rada Regulations) for electing and dismissing the Speaker - through a secret vote and with a constitutional majority (300 or more MPs) required.
Article 75 § 5 of the Regulations envisage that a decision regarding candidacy for the post of Speaker is made by secret vote through submitting voting papers while 75 § 6 says that the person shall be elected if he or she receives two thirds of the votes
Now the vote will follow the normal procedure, i.e. not secret, and by pushing buttons, and the person is elected by a simple majority.
Since some MPs from the Party of the Regions have not set foot in parliament for the last two years, and the number of “votes” always far exceeds the number of MPs physically present, this is a major difference.
On 4 July Speaker Volodymyr Lytvyn both announced his resignation and also promised the opposition that he would not sign a language law drafted by two Party of the Regions MPs which effectively gives Russian the same status as the official language, Ukrainian. Without his signature, the law cannot be passed to President Yanukovych who is most likely to sign it. The bill was clearly rushed through by the communist deputy speaker on Tuesday, with serious infringements of procedure, including the fact that it was the same bill as that passed at its first reading two weeks earlier, without any amendments added or discussion.
A constitutional submission was made by 51 MPs on 9 July and the Constituitonal Court in truly record-breaking speed came back with a judgement on 11 July. On that same day Volodymyr Lytvyn wrote to the Constitutional Court pointing out that the procedure for electing the Verkhovna Rada speaker is an issue of the internal work of parliament and cannot be subject to CCU control over constitutional norms.