Attempt to deprive opposition MP representing Tymoshenko of his mandate
The Verkhovna Rada Speaker Rybak has initiated an attempt to use the High Administration Court to strip Serhiy Vlasenko of his seat in parliament. All information has been provided by (Tymoshenko and Vlasenko’s) Batkivshchyna Party, however it has not been refuted by Rybak or his Party of the Regions allies in parliament.
This is an extremely worrying development for the end of a week which began with assurances to the EU that progress would be made in eliminating selective justice. It is also quite simply stupid, since Vlasenko has “defender” status, and this can be held by any person, whether a lawyer or not. Iryna Lutsenko is also her husband’s defender and she was elected to parliament in October last year. The application to strip him of his mandate is based on the allegation that he is combining work as a defence lawyer with his parliamentary work.
On 22 February Vlasenko publicly stated that he had applied to the Council of Bar Lawyers to cancel his certificate to work as a defence lawyer in order to avoid any “political insinuation”.
A very large number of MPs are much better known for their business interests, this being one of the reason that some virtually never set foot in parliament with their party colleagues “voting” with their MP cards. There have been no attempts from the ruling party to have these people stripped of their mandate.
On Friday the opposition issued a joint statement warning that the stripping of Vlasenko’s mandate by passing the stipulated parliamentary procedure would be a confirmation of political repression. They stress that no meeting of the regulations committee took place during February.