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07.12.2012

Law on Referendums brings risk of dictatorship and loss of independence

   

The civic partnership New Citizen writes that despite the fact that the Law on National Referendums was adopted by parliament on 6 November in flagrant breach of the Constitution and Verkhovna Rada Regulations, President Yanukovych signed it on 27 November.

“The law poses a grave danger and could destroy not only democracy, but also Ukraine’s independence.

It was with referendums that Adolf Hitler trampled on civil rights and became Führer in Germany; that Benito Mussolini established a fascist regime in Italy; Alexander Lukashenko destroyed democracy in Belarus; and Bashar al-Assad a bloody dictatorship in Syria. Viktor Yanukovych wishes to join them.

WHY IS THE LAW ON REFERENDUMS DANGEROUS?

  1. It is impossible to hold a referendum against those in power. If the issue which citizens wish to put to referendum is not to the regime’s liking, it can “legitimately” reject it.
  2. Those in power can get any decision passed via a referendum. The law does not prohibit votes, for example, on abolishing Ukraine’s independence or confiscation of citizens’ property.
  3. The law makes it possible to destroy the Constitution. A new Constitution can be “passed” by referendum and the old thus destroyed. This is despite the fact that the Constitution does not envisage such a mechanism for self-liquidation. Those in power can put what they please into the “new Constitution” – from abolishing a national election for President to Ukraine’s membership in a union with the capital in Moscow.
  4. Laws will be passed through referendums. The average voters will hardly be able to understand the subtleties of laws which can be passed at referendums “in bulk”.  All legislative procedures will be trampled with no first and second reading, amendments and discussion. The President will be able to stamp the worst laws without the Verkhovna Rada – in the name of the people.
  5. Nobody is planning  to ask people’s opinion or honestly count the votes with the law creating conditions for unprecedented rigging.  The fairness of collecting signatures for calling a referendum will be under the control of those in power. The election commissions will be 100% formed by the authorities, without any parties and civic associations. Observers against the issue put to referendum are not envisaged by the law. It will be possible to vote at home without documents confirming the grounds. Opponents of the referendum will not be able to receive the original protocols from polling stations.  The law makes it possible to falsify the referendum totally, from start to finish.
  6. The results of the referendum will immediately become mandatory. Through falsification those in power will be able to destroy the most important laws, first and foremost the Constitution. Through an ordinary decision by election commissions, without consideration in parliament, decisions and laws will be apparently voted by us and passed. We should not be surprised if they are similar to the laws on the Third Reich which were once also passed by referendum in Germany.

See also: Bypassing the Constitution and the appeal calling on the President to veto the law. 

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