Undoubtedly, the only way out of the present political crisis is to hold early parliament elections. Politicians have asked the people to become judges in their political dispute. And in order to be honest before their voters Ukrainian policymakers should explain the reasons for the present parliament illegitimacy, the unprecedented discredit of judicial authority and involving of the law-enforcement bodies in political fights. Masking the causes of the disease and trying to treat only symptoms condemn the country to move in a circle – from crisis to the elections and from the elections to crisis. It is necessary to develop a systematic decision which would save time and conduct the modernization of the country to increase its chances to succeed at the international goods and intellectual markets.

Viktor Yuschenko, the President of Ukraine, has clearly defined the cause of the problem: “The interference with the Main Law of Ukraine in 2004 led the country to the deadlock, created a threat to Ukrainian democracy.” There are enough grounds for this conclusion. Remember that the amendments to the Constitution were meant for keeping the unpopular regime, were developed without considering the public opinion and were passed with gross violation of the constitutional procedure.

And the result of these amendments is the disruption of the constitutional legal proceedings. After the amendments to the Constitution had been passed the Constitutional Court’s decisions became necessary to provide the regular lawmaking process and cooperation between different branches of state power. However, exactly at that moment some political forces blocked the Constitution Court’s work. They started to hamper the constitutional mechanisms which had to protect the state power from usurpation.

The above amendments led to the total imbalance of the state structures’ authorities and responsibilities which, in their turn, resulted in ruining the principles of law supremacy and democratic basis of the state, as well as the inability of justice to protect these principles.

Ukrainian and European political experts have warned about the possibility of such events – Venetian Committee disclosed their findings referring to this matter as early as spring 2005. The President of Ukraine is not exaggerating when he talks about a threat to the Ukrainian state system. The immediate constitutional reform is the only possible way to avoid this threat.

We all have a chance to conduct the constitutional reform in quite short terms by following simple and comprehensive principles.

So, the first principle – the reform should be based on the Constitution of Ukraine from 1996. That Constitution received positive replies from international experts; its fundamentals proved to be efficient and must be preserved.

The second principle is the improvement of the mechanisms that guarantee people’s rights and liberties. For instance, we see that there is no need for a so-called general directorate of public prosecutions. Because of this Main Law’s innovation Ukraine has been accused of breaking European Council requirements. At the same it is necessary to strengthen the institutional and personnel consistency of judicial bodies of power to let them protect Ukrainian citizen’s rights and liberties more efficiently. Independent court and justice should be transformed from intentions into reality.

The third principle – the public opinion should be taken into account. The President of Ukraine says that the Constitution is a public agreement. The Ukrainian Constitution should give answers to the most pressing questions in Ukrainian society in order to become a public agreement. The Razumkov Poll-centre has conducted a representational survey that estimated Ukrainian citizens’ expectations. According to its results and the results of other researches it is possible to define the most urgent directions of constitutional improvement. Thus, only 10.3% of respondents accept the transformation of Ukraine into a federation. 34.8% of respondents support the idea of keeping Ukraine a unitary state and 36.3% speak in favor of a unitary state with expanded district authorities. Considering this absolutely clear viewpoint of Ukrainian citizens the federation matter is out of the question. At the same time expanding the authorities of local bodies of power is noteworthy. It is important to provide the formation of financial, organizational and other basis for effective local self-governing.

The fourth principle for constitutional reform is European course of Ukrainian development. During this process Ukrainian legislation should be supplemented with several thousand European directives which would bring in high European economical, social, humanitarian and security standards.

The next principle for constitutional reform is the extension of the responsibilities of all bodies of power. In this light we should consider the possibilities of creating the institutes of public legislative initiative and public vetoing. It is also important to create an additional basis for strengthening the civil society, development of the independent mass media and increasing their control over the authorities’ activities.

The President of our country is speaking in favor of the consecutive parliamentarism development in Ukraine. But the expanding of the Verkhovna Rada’s authorities should be followed by the extension of its responsibilities. The President has to receive the right to dissolve the parliament in cases when the parliament is trying to usurp state power or the MP’s are breaking the constitutional order.

Analyzing the previous events I would like to point out that the mechanisms which prevent the fusion of the legislative and executive state powers should be stated in the Constitution. For instance, it is necessary to define a new procedure of government formation and resignation. Due to the fusion of two branches of state power neither parliament nor government is responsible for the present political situation in the country. The reduction of their authority would contribute to the process of increasing their mutual independence and responsibility.

Besides, the Constitution should include distinct definitions of the officials’ authorities during the parliament dissolution, government resignation, changes in ruling coalition’s structure and so on. It is necessary to reinforce the coordination and controlling role of the National Security and Defense Council in order not to allow the use of law-enforcement bodies and military structures in political fights

The formation of a parliament of two chambers in Ukraine is another essential direction of parliamentarism development. I would like to underline that the parliament of two chambers is not a feature of the federative state. I can prove my statement with the examples of Poland and France – probably the most unitary states in Europe.

The parliament of two chambers is the highest level of professionalism in the parliamentary work because of the two-level lawmaking system. According to this system the interests of the voters are represented in the lower chamber and the interests of the regions are represented in the upper chamber.

The President’s constitutional initiatives will be declared soon in order to stimulate public discussion and to take the public opinion into consideration during preparation of the new Constitution version. The new version of the Constitution should be approved by the referendum in the near future.

With his constitutional initiatives the President of Ukraine intends to overcome the present political crisis. And the head of state says that every citizen of Ukraine has the same nation-wide task today – to turn away the threat to the Ukrainian state system, to open the doors to the future.

Winston Churchill defined the formula of the people’s welfare as follows: “To succeed means to live not asking anybody for permission under the protection of a fair law”

I think that Ukraine is able to create such a Constitution for its citizens.
Author: Igor PUKSHYN (deputy head of the President’s Secretariat on legal matters.)
Article is provided by Zerkalo Nedeli

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