Main provisions of the Bill "On Introduction of Amendments to the Constitution of Ukraine"
The Bill of Ukraine "On Introduction of Amendments to the Constitution of Ukraine" provides for provisions to ensure the implementation of the reform of Ukrainian political system initiated by the President of Ukraine.
The following is the summary of the main provisions of the bill.
1. The bill provides for a change in the procedure of appointment of the Prime-Minister of Ukraine and forming the Government of Ukraine.
Thus, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine (the State Assembly) shall appoint the Prime-Minister of Ukraine. The President nominates the Prime-Minister of Ukraine to be proposed by permanent parliamentary majority.
As to the appointment of the other members of the Government of Ukraine, it is envisaged that the President will continue to appoint the Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine, the Minister of Ukraine of Emergencies and Affairs of Population Protection from Consequences of Chornobyl Catastrophe, the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, the Minister of Defense of Ukraine.
The other members of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine are to be appointed by the Parliament (by its lower chamber – the State Assembly). The Prime-Minister nominates the members of the Government of Ukraine to be approved by the President of Ukraine and the State Assembly respectively.
The bill also introduces changes to the procedure of appointing heads of central executive bodies that are not members of the Government of Ukraine.
In particular, the President of Ukraine appoints the Head of the State Tax Administration of Ukraine, the Head of the State Customs Service of Ukraine, the Head of the Security Service of Ukraine, the Head of the State Border Guard Committee.
Other heads of central executive bodies that are not members of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine (as of February 20, 2003, there are 38 such bodies), are to be appointed by the Government of Ukraine.
At the same time, the power of the President to appoint half of the members of the Board of the National Bank of Ukraine shall be delegated to the Government of Ukraine.
Such a distribution of powers will allow to transfer the responsibility for the state policy, primarily in social and economic fields as well as implementation of relevant reforms upon the Parliament of Ukraine that formed the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine and through legislation set forth the criteria of Government’s activities in relevant sphere, as well as on the Prime-Minister of Ukraine and his Government.
Alongside with the above provisions, the bill envisages an introduction of the relevant "checks and balances" mechanisms.
In particular, the following rights are stipulated for the President:
- to dissolve the lower chamber of the Parliament – the State Assembly – in case: 1) the State Assembly fails to form the Cabinet of Ministers within 60 days after Cabinet’s dismissal; 2) the permanently functioning Parliamentary majority is not created in the Chamber within one month; 3) the State Budget of Ukraine for the following year is not approved by December 1;
- to introduce to the State Assembly motion to consider the responsibility of the Cabinet of Ministers.
In its turn, the State Assembly is to have the right to pass the non-confidence resolution to the entire Cabinet of Ministers (including the members of the Government of Ukraine appointed by the President).
The non-confidence resolution to the Prime Minister of Ukraine or to the entire Cabinet of Ministers, adopted by the State Assembly, would result in resignation of the Government of Ukraine as a whole, with the President of Ukraine dismissing the Ministers that he had appointed.
The other element of the new mechanism is the possibility for the Government of Ukraine to introduce the bill along with the provision for the "confidence vote". It means that the bill is being introduced along with the Cabinet of Ministers’ resignation in case a relevant law is not passed in its originally introduced form.
2. Taking into consideration the results of All-Ukrainian referendum that was held according to the people’s initiative on April 16, 2000 and in order to provide the effective functioning of the Parliament the bill envisages the following:
- to lower the overall number of members of the legislature – 300 deputies are to be elected to the lower chamber; and 3 deputies from each of 27 regions to the upper chamber (thus, 81 deputies of Ukraine);
- to form the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine as the two-chambered Parliament.
In this regard it is foreseen that the deputies of the lower chamber of the Parliament will be elected in accordance with the proportional system.
As it was mentioned the upper chamber of the Verkhovna Rada – the chamber of Regions shall be formed according to the draft on the basis of ensuring the representation of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, regions, cities of Kyiv and Sevastopol. It would enable to considerably improve the situation with the real representation of the interests of Ukrainian regions in the legislative body.
At the same time the existence of two chambers in the Parliament will improve the quality of the adopted laws as every law will be double-checked – in the lower and the upper chambers;
- within one month mandatory formation of the permanently functioning parliamentary majority – on the basis of alignment of political positions of the people’s deputies of Ukraine – of the constitutionally established membership of the lower chamber – the State Assembly – of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine. Failure to create this majority may result in the dissolution of the lower chamber by the President of Ukraine.
3. In order to ensure stability in the state for a certain period of time and to avoid transforming Ukraine into a state with permanent elections and endless election campaigns, the bill envisages holding regular elections of the President, regular elections to the Parliament, elections to the Verkhovna Rada of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and to the bodies of local self-government within one calendar year. In this connection it is proposed that the term in office of the Parliament and of the bodies of local self-government be extended to five years.
The bill provides for the introduction of the following succession and the dates of regular elections to be held in the course of a calendar year:
- to the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine – the last Sunday of March;
- to the Verkhovna Rada of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the local bodies of self-government – the second Sunday of September;
- of the President of Ukraine – the first Sunday of December.
To ensure proper functioning of that election mechanism, the bill also envisages that:
- in case the President leaves his office before the expiration of his term or other elected bodies, the newly elected President or these bodies exercise their authority until the next regular elections;
- the authority of the State Assembly of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine cannot be stopped pre-term in the course of the six months period that precedes the scheduled regular elections;
- in case of pre-term cessation of authority of the President of Ukraine, presidential elections cannot be held, if cessation of authority occurred one year ahead of the date of regular elections.
4. Experience shows that transition to permanent appointment of judges was premature. For that reason, the bill envisages that judges, with the exception of the judges of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine, are to be elected by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine for the term of ten years through the procedure determined by the law.
To ensure that the Constitutional Court of Ukraine and the highest judicial body – the Supreme Court of Ukraine – are formed from the highly qualified experts in law, the bill provides for the following:
- members of the Constitutional Court are to be appointed on a parity basis – 9 judges by the President of Ukraine and 9 judges by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine (Chamber of Regions);
- to limit the age requirements for judges of the Constitutional Court to 75 years;
- to lift restrictions that would enable appointment of the same person to the position of a judge of the Constitutional Court for the second term (it is envisaged that a person can be appointed as a judge up to two times);
- to lift any restrictions that limit the term in office of the Chairman of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine.
5. In accordance with the Article 5 of the Constitution of Ukraine which establishes that the People are bearer of sovereignty and the only source of power in the state and can govern directly, the bill introduces the ability to adopt legislation through All-Ukrainian referendum. Such laws have higher legal force and do not require any additional endorsement by the bodies of state power or state officials. They have to be signed by the President of Ukraine and cannot be subject of veto.
For additional information, please contact:
Yurii Nykytiuk, Press Secretary at the Embassy of Ukraine
310 Somerset Street West, Ottawa, ON K2P 0J9
Tel. (613) 230-2961, fax (613) 230-2400