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Koliushko: Law on Referendum could do irreparable damage


  A number of civic organizations have appealed to the President, MPs and the Human Rights Ombudsperson, asking them to make a submission to the Constitutional Court to declare the Law on a National Referendum in breach of the Constitution.

Ihor Koliushko, Head of the Centre for Political and Legal Reform stated at a press conference that the law “contravenes European standards for organizing and holding referendums. If it is applied, it could do irreparable damage to constitutionalism and Ukraine’s legal system.”

He suggests that two draft submissions should be prepared – one asking for the law as a whole to be declared unconstitutional, the other – focusing on specific provisions.

Political analyst Serhiy Taran pointed to five main threats in the Law on a National Referendum, these being:

the reduced role of parliament in the country’s political life;

the lack of guarantees of an honest vote-count;

the lack of mechanisms for formulating the questions put to referendum;

the use of a referendum as political technology posing danger for society;

further reduction in Ukraine’s international authority.

As reported, Thomas Markert, Secretary of the Council of Europe’s Venice Commission stated last week while in Ukraine that the Venice Commission is following the situation. He believes that decisions based on the results of a referendum cannot replace a decision of a majority in the Verkhovna Rada regarding changes to the Constitution. 

Reasons for opposition to the law are outlined in Bypassing the Constitution and the appeal calling on the President to veto the law.

Broad support for the bill, on the other hand, is expressed by Vsevolod Rechytsky in Some thoughts regarding the law on referendums

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