So will MPs vote in person?
Interfax Ukraine reports that the current Speaker Volodymyr Lytvyn has signed the draft law supposedly ensuring that MPs now vote in person. The bill must still be signed by the President, but since the bill passed was that proposed by the Party of the Regions while the first draft bill submitted by the opposition was rejected, this is almost certainly a formality.
The draft law passed on 6 December changes the Verkhovna Rada regulations and states tha before each session, MPs must register personally, presenting their deputy card and signing in. They will also register using the Verkhovna Rada’s electronic system in such a way as to prevent others registering in their place. MPs must also take part in any vote: voting for or against, or officially abstaining. The opposition had called for sensor cards to be used but this was rejected.
The bill seems to have been the result of some consensus with the opposition who agreed, in return for support of the bill, to additions to the regulations stating that MPs must not block examination of issues on the agenda or the work of the Verkhovna Rada in general.
The bill was, however, voted in, as usual, with very large numbers of MPs absent.
As reported here, Ukraine’s Constitution is entirely clear on this issue, stipulating that only personal voting is allowed. This is – perhaps has been, though that remains to be seen – constantly ignored, with some MPs having almost never turned up in parliament, but having been counted in on ruling majority “votes”.