Regardless of scandals, blockings and conflicts among MPs, the second session of the parliament has been successful for all players. Moreover, the political season of 2013 considerable differs from all previous ones. At least MPs were running around the session hall trying to vote for all their colleagues. The majority of experts and Mps themselves admit that the "change of traditions" has become one of the achievements of the second session of the Verkhovna Rada.

"Voting with someone else's card has seized to be a norm. And this is one of the biggest achievements. Of course there are violations, but they are rather an exception than the rule," head of the regulations committee and Party of Regions MP Volodymyr Makeyenko underlined.

Moreover, the seventh parliament now has new political forces, like radical party "Freedom" and non-factional MPs, who entered the VR from majority constituency. These factors could not but change the situation on political arena.

Nevertheless, many political scientists note there is no point to speak about winners and losses of the second session. Thus, political scientist Oleksiy Golobutski believes that the situation has not changed much comparing to the first session of the seventh parliament.

"Having no leader the opposition has not presented any clear strategy. Confidence in the authorities declines. There is certain progress, but ambitions of many politicians still remain above interests of regular people," the expert states.

Continuous conflicts and blocking of the parliament have delayed adoption of many important draft bill, in particular legislative initiatives on European integration of Ukraine.

Closing the second session, speaker Volodymyr Rybak said that the main reason of negative moments was "unpreparedness" of "newcomers" to work in the session hall.

So, what do MPs and political scientists have to say on the matter?

Andriy Shvchenko, MP from "Motherland" faction:

- The second session was rather poor. I thin it was far from what people expected. Among positive moments I can point out individual voting. We have finally solved the problem of mass voting and made MPs vote for themselves only, not the whole faction. moreover, during the session we have managed to reconsider and revote a number of bills, which were adopted with violations of the regulations. I think it is an important result.

On the other hand, those who followed the session must have noticed the "black Thursday" when dozens of draft bills were adopted with violations and ignoring the regulations. It proves that the parliament is still far from carrying out reforms properly.

This session was supposed to be a session of Eurointegration laws. The authorities officially promised to vote for them, and the opposition was ready to support those bills. However, the ruling party has failed and we have passed only a part of laws, required for the Association Agreement.
In general, people expect the parliament to adopt law against corruption and laws on proper distribution of the budget. Have we made progress in this direction? Hardly. I think the parliament is still on the ego-trip.

Mykhailo Chechetov, MP, first deputy head of the Party of Regions faction:

- I would give this session a C+. For the whole history of Ukrainian parliamentarism we have not had such precedents when the third part of plenary sitting was ruined at a whim of opposition parties. How can you estimate idleness?

Among positive moments I can point out that the majority has managed to travel around Ukraine to talk to people and explain the situation. Together with the public we have talked sense to the opposition. Moreover, we have managed  to accumulate forces and potential to adopt hey draft bills for the Association Agreement. Negative moments include loss of  time.

The opposition has proposed to hold an extraordinary session. But I'll tell you what, they do not have a moral right to ask his. It was the opposition wasting time, not the majority. I would recommend the opposition forces to cancel their vacations and work off all the sittings they skipped, and we will return in September to adopt their draft bills if they are worthy, of course. Oh, we will teach them to love the motherland. 

Oleksandr Holub, MP from the Communist Party faction:

- The second session was definitely dissatisfactory. It was influenced by the coming presidential elections, and MPs forgot about promises they gave to electorate. The parliament was blocked not to defend interests of voters, but interests of some industrial groups and faction leaders.

Volodymyr Fesenko, director of the Center for applied political research "Penta":

- I would give this session C-, even C--. Serious problems are obvious and performance is poor. However, this time the parliament was not dominated by one political force only. And the fact that important draft bills were adopted anyway and MPs could find compromise solutions for certain delicate issues proves that this parliament can work normally. At the same time, war of political interests, including presidential campaign, sure enough impede the constructive work. 

As for positive results, this parliament has finally overcome the practice of voting with someone else's cards. On the other hand, the method of blocking used to fight non-personal voting or to defend opposition's interests was too harsh. Its frequent use has resulted into decline of confidence in the parliament. 

The most negative moment of the second session was deprivation of deputy mandates by court decisions. Such approach is a delayed action mine, which can blow up the whole parliament. MPs should not use the deprivation of mandates as a method to achieve some goals. The payback may be a ...witch.

Viktor Nebozhenko, political scientist, director of the sociological service "Ukrainian barometer":

- I would estimate the work of the second session as poor. The parliament has adopted mostly lobbyist laws, let alone openly corruptive bills. Separate voting, which took place on Bankova street, is actually a serious crime which will have its consequences. On the other hand, we have presidential country, not parliamentary, so we should not expect much from the parliament, because it is not the parliament to make important decisions. In fact, the country does not even need these MPs.

Pavlo Rozenko, MP, "UDAR" faction:

- The political environment in the parliament has changed, and the VR is no longer the same. The so-called traditions and norms it used to follow, like voting for oneself and another guy, are no longer accepted. Of course, violations remain, but now they draw more attention of public and mass media. 

Besides, there are many "newcomers" and non-faction politicians. Thisvery fact changes the format of the parliament, as none of the political forces can fully control the process of bill adoption. parliament is becoming a place for discussions and compromise solutions.

The second session had its negative moments and scandals, but in general the Verkhovna Rada has demonstrated certain progress in fitting European values of parliamentarism.


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