November 23, 2012

A coup-in-waiting

Nov. 8, 2012, 9:01 p.m. | Editorial — by Kyiv Post
Medvedchuk, Putin's 'invisible hand' in Ukraine
While the opposition is still fighting for contested seats in the future parliament, the current Verkhovna Rada surreptitiously railroaded through a piece of legislation that opens a new way to change the Constitution.
The law on referendum, voted by parliament on Nov. 6, regulates the procedure for approval on key issues for the nation’s governance, including changes to the Constitution.
In response, two members of the opposition moved to cancel the new law because it violates the Constitution.
The law allows for fundamental decisions to be decided by popular referendum. It also says “the president of Ukraine is obliged to call an all-Ukrainian referendum by public initiative.”
To do that, three million citizens have to sign a petition in two-thirds of Ukraine’s 26 oblasts, with at least 100,000 signatures in each.

The parliament is also allowed to call a referendum.
This major piece of legislation comes after the president and his allies realized they cannot get 300 votes in parliament, the constitutional majority required to change the country’s supreme document.
The work on rewriting changes to the Constitution was initiated by President Viktor Yanukovych in May.
Losing popularity and therefore his chances for re-election in 2015, the president is believed to favor a model where the president (or prime minister) is elected by parliamenand retains the powers of head of state.
What’s more, the law could pave the way for public approval to entering the Russia-led customs union, a Kremlin’s goal that would spell the end to Ukraine’s European dream.
Viktor Medvedchuk, the former head of President Leonid Kuchma’s administration with close connections to Putin, has for months advertised the idea of people’s power by referendum.
Many countries use popular initiatives to give ordinary citizens greater say over where their country is headed.
But for such a system to function, several conditions must be met: the political process must be treated with respect, public debate should be genuine and supported by an independent media and, most importantly,  voting should be free and fair.
Ukraine fulfills none of these criteria, thus making the law a tool to establish a tyranny of the majority – and a dubious majority at that.
This dangerous law has been approved while most opposition leaders are still deciding what they are going to do about rigged results in a number of single-mandate districts.
But this law is a much greater threat and needs to be reversed.

No comments:

Post a Comment