The Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine starts new plenary week with a series of compromises, as the circumstances require to get along. Firstly, the time is pressing on eurointegration laws. Secondly, it is embarrassing to start fights when the European leadership is watching us. For this, the Conciliatory Council sitting of the parliament held on Monday, October 7, went smoothly and without slinging match and traditional promises to "block everything". The question is whether the MPs are able to behave faultlessly in the future.

The council seemingly went well. The idea of the opposition to work non-stop did not cause any protest on the part of the parliamentary majority, though may be for the simple reason that the Party of Regions regularly declared its readiness to work fruitfully and that communists hoped to attract more attention to the idea of referendum on foreign policy of Ukraine. However, speaker Volodymyr Rybak was not so sure about realization of the intention to work head off. "I will submit it for consideration, and I will see how willingly you vote for working on Saturdays and Sundays." This was the end of peaceful sitting of the council.   
The first point at issue was the very same prolongation of the work of the parliament. It turned out the opposition had disagreements on the question. "UDAR" leader Vitaly Klichko insisted to have two plenary weeks in a row, while his colleague, leader of "Motherland" faction Arseniy Yatseniuk went to even greater extremes and proposed to work without any intervals till the Summit "Ukraine-EU" in Vilnius. "No problem, we can work for the Ukrainian people every day!", he said cheerfully, but nobody shared the enthusiasm. Anyway, the MPs did not even have time to think as Yatseniuk  poured a pile of new initiatives to consider, including the signing of Cox-Kwasniewski appeal on Tymoshenko's release.
"The President is paying an official visit and settling these issues (signing of the Association agreement -ed.). And to help Viktor Federovych to make progress in talks we ask all deputies to sign this appeal," he said motivating his position. An individual invitation to sign the document was addressed to Oleksandr Yefremov, leader of the Party of Regions parliamentary faction, who 'delicately' ignored it. "What to sign? What document?" Yefremov showed a surprise and focused on the absence of legal mechanisms to send Tymoshenko for treatment abroad.

Considering that the appeal of Arseniy Yatseniuk did not find any support on the part of Oleh Tyagnybok and Vitaly Klichko, the idea will not live long.
The second conflict issue was more serious and concerned amendments to the Constitution on guaranteed independence of judges. The document was considered by the Constitution Court and the decision was announced in the parliament at the end of the last plenary week, mid-September. The draft bill is rather complicated and provides for significant restrictions of the President's right to appoint judges. The parliamentary opposition proposes to start from the very beginning: to form a Working group (UDAR's version) or Temporary commission (Motherland's version), to work out a new agreed version of the draft bill, to send it to the Constitutional Court for rapid consideration and to adopt it before October 20.
This very issue may become a real deal breaker for the MPs, who try hard to live in harmony. To avoid any confusions, speaker Rybak invited the faction leaders to meet once again in his office and discuss the matter quietly. However, the odds are that the majority will insist on the already considered by the CC text, while the opposition will try to take advantage of the situation, considering that the time presses.
The idea of Arseniy Yatseniuk on impeachment of judges will hardly make it through, but trench wars are not ruled out. However, in this case the opposition may have a problem. Its favorite method of persuasion - blocking the parliament - is no longer efficient. Theoretically, there is a way to save the face and make a statement - to refuse voting. But in this case the parliamentary majority may take drastic measures and initiate a process of reformation of the deputy corps, meaning to adopt a draft bill providing for reduction of the minimal number of MPs required for the formation of a deputy group, empowered with the rights of a faction. For the moment this question has been postponed, but at any time may be included in the agenda, which does not exist by the way.
During the Conciliatory council sitting, the speaker repeatedly called upon MPs to adopt an agenda for the current plenary session on the whole, not to submit new bills for consideration every day. Tuesday sitting will show whether the MPs are capable to reach a compromise. However, as we can see, the pressing issues will be considered in speaker's office anyway.

Thus, the real council sitting will be held backstage, without fuzz and buzz, which proves MPs' intention to cooperate. The very fact that factions leaders are ready to talk not to fight is a significant progress, welcomed by both the President and government. It may even happen that the ambitious plenary weeks will go without brawls, rallies and blocking. Will October become the beginning of new life for the parliament? Well, let's say that the challenges of the European Union are too serious to be ignored and the prospect of European integration is too important to be neglected for the sake of a couple of effective appearances in mass media. 

Lilia Brudnytska


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