Procedure for election of Parliamentary Speaker changed


Photo: Hrabarska, CHESNO

The Verkhovna Rada will from now on vote for the Parliamentary Speaker through an open vote.  The opposition believes that the speaker will now be a dependent figure meekly carrying out all the demands of the President’s Administration.

The Verkhovna Rada supported, at a second attempt, a law which states that the Speaker is elected by an open vote at a session of parliament. At first the communists refused to vote for the draft law, but then after a break all of them voted for it. The author of the draft law asserts that this will promote more effective work of the new parliament; the opposition does not agree. Most did not vote at all, or voted against, however the bill was passed.  Opposition MP Yury Karmazin is appalled: “Now the second person in the country who is in charge of the representative body of power will be elected by a simple pressing of a button.  “The so-called “shareholders of parliament” wanted to change a speaker whom they don’t like, they pressed a button and that’s it”.

He says that considering the fact that the MPs deprived the Speaker of the Verkhovna Rada of some of his powers after Volodymyr Lytvyn refused to sign the law on State language policy, now the Speaker will simply be dependent.  He believes that it is the President’s Administration which wants this.

He suspects that the communists changed their position and supported the bill in exchange for agreement that Adam Martynyuk from their ranks will hold a leading position in the new parliament.

As reported earlier, the draft Law on Amendments to the Verkhovna Rada Regulations was tabled in parliament by Party of the Regions MP Volodymyr Makeyenko on 16 October and had already been placed on the parliamentary agenda by the next day.

Kommersant – Ukraine suggested at the time that with the new parliament including 225 candidates voted in according to a single-mandate electoral district system, the Party of the Regions wanted to change the procedure for electing and dismissing the Speaker of the Verkhovna Rada.  Until now, in accordance with Article 75 § 5 the vote was secret and MPs voted using ballot papers.  The new draft bill simplifies this considerably. The decision regarding candidacy is decided via open named vote.  Procedure for dismissal is also simplified in the same manner with a simple majority only being required.   Despite the Constitution stating clearly that MPs must vote in person, it is common for members of the ruling majority to use the cards of a number of their absent colleagues, making any changes indeed very simple.

The ground for these changes was provided in July by the Constitutional Court which, following a submission from 51 Party of the Regions MPs, found that the special procedure for dismissing the Speaker did not comply with the Constitution.

As reported, that came remarkably soon after the Parliamentary Speaker Lytvyn publically stated that he would not sign the highly contentious language law.  He signed it soon after the Constitutional Court’s judgement. 

New information reported by the Deutsche Welle Ukrainian Service

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