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Court annulment of MPs’ mandate a threat to parliamentarism


The civic network OPORA, Committee of Voters of Ukraine and others have given a damning assessment of the latest ruling by the High Administrative Court which on 12 September stripped Ihor Markov of his parliamentary mandate.  Markov was a candidate in single-mandate electoral district No. 133 in Odessa.  On 8 February an analogous ruling was passed with respect to single-mandate electoral district candidates Pavlo Baloha and Oleksandr Dombrovsky.  On each occasion the court’s step was explained as being because of alleged infringements in electoral procedure and falsifications. All three MPs had been registered as MPs by the Central Election Commission [CEC].

OPORA asked a number of political analysts and prominent journalists to assess the High Administrative Court’s rulings stripping MPs of their mandate, and to say how they thought it would impact under negotiations between the EU and Ukraine on signing the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement.

71% believe the rulings to have been inadequate, unconvincing and in breach of the Constitution and of Ukrainian laws.

24% see the rulings as most likely inadequate and unconvincing. They say that some aspects of the rulings have a certain logic in law, but on the whole breach the Constitution and Ukrainian legislation, as well as international acts.

Only one out of the 31 survey considered the last ruling to have been adequate and convincing.

They were asked to what degree such rulings had been influenced by political and other non-law-based factors.

905 said that these factors had been decisive.

Only two people considered that although political and other non-law-based factors had played a considerable role, the legality of the ruling had also been taken into account.

67% believe that the court rulings will have an adverse impact on the prospects for Ukrainian parliamentarianism; while 24% are less categorical, but also feel the effect is most likely to be negative. Only one said that it would have a positive impact on the Verkhovna Rada’s work.

There was greater divergence in views as to how the Verkhovna Rada should react to the rulings, and also regarding the consequences for the EU-Ukraine negotiations.

33% believe that the rulings will most probably have an adverse impact;

10% - that they will definitely have negative consequences;

33%  thought that there would be no impact;

5% thought it would be basically positive, or entirely positive.

The others didn’t know.

OPORA is convinced that the court precedents stripping MPs of their mandate in a way not foreseen by the Constitution require an adequate response from parliament. At this stage, it says, the CEC cannot enforce the court rulings since there is no way of dealing with such a category of cases at legislative level.

The respondents included Ihor Koliushko, Head of the Centre for Legal and Political Reform; Oleksandr Chernenko, Head of CVU;  Ihor Kohut, Head of the Laboratory of Legislative Initiatives; Yulia Tyshchenko, Head of the Ukrainian Independent Political Research Centre, and others.

From the report by OPORA

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