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Ilko Kucheriv Democratic Initiatives Foundation
Focus on Ukraine
March 2 – 8,
Ilko Kucheriv Democratic Initiatives Foundation
І. Overviews of political
events of the week…………………………..…….….….……….…….3
II. Analytical Reference….………….…..…...………….……....….4
FIRST ACHIEVEMENTS AND FAILURES.........................….…….…4
Ilko Kucheriv Democratic Initiatives Foundation
І. Overviews of political events of the week
More than 6,000 people and soldiers have died during the military
conflict in the east of Ukraine, the report of the UN Higher
Commissioner on Human Rights reads. Another 14,740 people were
injured according to officially documented information.
The Verkhovna Rada made amendments to the pension legislation. The law that
deputies voted for in the fifth attempt envisages a stage-by-stage increase in the
pension age for women, an increase in the insured experience of individuals that file
claims for a privileged pension and limitation of pensions of retirees that continue to
The National Budget for 2015 has been amended. 273 VR deputies voted in favor of
amendments to the budget proposed by the government.
The president of Ukraine formed a Constitutional Commission.
According to the president’s decree, bodies of government,
professional associations and civil associations may submit their
candidacy to a commission that will revise amendments to the
Constitution by March 12.
Routine scuffles between deputies broke out in the parliament of Ukraine. This time
the leaders of the faction of the Radical Party Oleh Lyashko and its former member
Serhiy Melnychuk, who left the faction and decided to join the Freedom of the People
faction, were engaged in the fisticuffs that disrupted the further work of the
There was another explosion at the Zasyadko mine in Donetsk.
According to data of the Donetsk Oblast State Administration, 33
miners died as a result of the explosion. March 5 was declared a day of
The Verkhovna Rada gave permission to detain three judges of the Pechersk District
Court in Kyiv, thereby satisfying the request of the Prosecutor General’s Office, which
was granted the right to detain Viktor Kytsiuk, Serhiy Vovk and Oksana Tsarevych, who
are suspected of illegal acts in their posts as judges.
Ukrainian political prisoner Nadia Savchenko agreed to put an end to
her hunger strike, lawyer of the pilot member of the Verkhovna Rada
and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe Mark Feigin
Sources of the police in the Netherlands confirmed the Russian trace in the shooting
down of the Malaysian Airlines Boeing 777 over the territory of the Donetsk oblast.
Based on the results of the investigation, the plane was shot down from a BUK M1
zenith-rocket complex delivered from Kursk, Russia to Ukraine most likely by Russian
military forces.
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The parliamentary faction Economic Development suspended its existence. Leader of
the faction Vitaliy Khomutynnyk made such a decision. One of the former members of
the faction said a deputy group will be formed on the basis of the faction.
Commander of the Slobozhanshchyna battalion Andriy Yanholenko
sustained injuries when his mini-bus was blown up. Advisor to the
Minister of Internal Affairs Anton Herashchenko said the vehicle was
blown up by a Russian-made mine.
A routine “humanitarian aid convoy” transgressed the territory of
Ukraine, the State Border Service of Ukraine informed. The convoy
that was presumably transporting aid to miners that suffered from the
explosion at the Zasadkyo mine once again transgressed the border of
Ukraine without the knowledge of the Ukrainian side and the International Red Cross
II. Analytical Reference
March 7 marked 100 days of the start of work of the Verkhovna Rada of the VIII
convocation. Ukrainian society and political experts harbored great expectations
from the new parliament regarding the quality of the lawmaking process and its
results. At the same time, the work of the new convocation of the VR was performed
on the backdrop of the aggravated conflict in the Donbas region and the
deteriorating economic situation in Ukraine.
How do experts assess the first 100 days of the activity of the new parliament?
What can be expected from the Verkhovna Rada in the foreseeable future?
Pros and cons
In assessing the effectiveness of the
work of any parliament, one must first
and foremost pay attention to its
capacity to perform its function as the
representative of the interests of the
people and their different categories. In
the opinion of the majority of experts
surveyed by the Ilko Kucheriv
Democratic Initiatives Foundation and
the subject of their assessment of the
first 100 days of the work of the new
parliament, the composite of the
Verkhovna Rada improved compared to
its previous convocation. Clearly, this
can be attributed first and foremost to
the fact that a certain number of
representatives of civil society and the
journalist community won seats in
parliament, as well as to the partial
renewal of parties that overcame the
parliamentary threshold.
sufficiently satisfied with parliament’s
fulfillment of its representative
functions: on a 10-point scale this
indicator was on average 4.3 points.
Clearly, the average assessments of the
Ilko Kucheriv Democratic Initiatives Foundation
functions of the new parliament are
directly associated with the fact that
the mixed electoral system has not
undergone reforms. This combines the
flaws of the proportional model with
closed party lists over which voters
have no influence whatsoever on the
electoral lists of parties and the singlemandate model of a simple majority in
which the winner usually garners the
minority of all votes cast in the voting
As to the quality of the main lawmaking
function of the parliament it is worth
separately reviewing its procedure and
results. Notwithstanding the high
expectations of society, the first 100
days of the parliament’s work
demonstrated that it continues the
practice of ignoring procedural norms.
Experts surveyed pointed out this
trend, specifically referring to the
passing of the budget for 2015 as the
most negative development over this
interval of time. Gross violations of
procedures and even the common
sense of the lawmaking process were
the manifestation of this trend, seeing
as deputies were forced to vote in favor
of the budget, the final version of the
text of which they did not receive,
which was de facto drafted by the
government after its approval.
Other problems in compliance with
procedures that were notable over the
first 100 days of the new parliament
were related to the review of bills
according to an abridged procedure
due to the absence of appropriate
grounds, manipulation of the order of
the day by the leadership of the
parliament, violation of procedures for
submission of alternative bills with the
aim of adoption of the necessary law,
etc. While the practice of “buttonpushing” that members of different
factions and independent deputies
resorted to in the past can still be
observed in the current parliament, it
has been observed that today this
practice is of a considerably lower
The results of the lawmaking efforts of
parliamentarians were also negatively
assessed: experts gave 3.9 points to the
adoption of laws that are imperative
for Ukrainian society. The grounds for
such assessments are mainly due to the
sluggish fulfillment of the obligations
on the part of the parliamentary
coalition in accordance with the
coalition agreement that it signed and
the fact that it continues to protract
the process of conducting reforms.
Among the positive lawmaking
innovations experts pointed to the
improvement of the law On the
National Anti-Corruption Bureau and
amendments to the Budget Code and
the Tax Code regarding financial decentralization. In other spheres,
practically no progress has been
observed. In particular, the law drafted
by President Petro Poroshenko aimed
at reform of the judicial system was
assessed with skepticism as it does not
provide grounds for bona fide judicial
Finally, the internal organizational work
of the parliament was given the most
positive assessments. Experts noted
that the quick formation of the
coalition and the government was the
main achievement of the new
parliament, while the effectiveness of
cooperation of the parliament with the
president and the government was
assessed slightly higher than the
average – 5.6 and 5.2 points
At the same time, the flipside of the
coin is that the degree of dependence
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of the parliament on the two
institutions manifested in the adoption
of laws that the president and the
government need, even if it bypasses
the requirements of the parliamentary
procedures and their violation,
parliamentary opposition, which is
formally represented by the Opposition
Bloc, was negatively assessed – 2.3
points. The reason for this is quite
obvious – the deputies of this faction
over the first 100 days of the new
participate in the lawmaking process.
New-old expectations
Given that over the first 100 days of the
work of the new Verkhhovna Rada did
not meet the people’s expectations,
the expert circles and civil society hope
to compensate for the efforts of its
work lost over the last few months. This
means, first of all, that work of the
parliament should comply with
procedural regulations. Clearly, if this is
not done then it will be impossible to
speak of a new qualitative Verkhovna
On the other hand, the parliament has
a long list of legislative initiatives that it
must adopt in accordance with the
coalition agreement. In their opinion,
experts pointed to the key laws on this
list that must be adopted in the nearest
future. The law on reform of the
judicial system, which will deprive
judges of political dependence on other
branches of power, first and foremost,
the president, is first on this list.
The adoption of new laws on
parliamentary and local elections,
which would change the impact of the
mixed system currently in effect on
these laws, is also of critical
importance. Political experts have
already come to a consensus that the
most optimal variant for parliamentary
elections is the proportional model
with regional open lists, while a model
besides the aforementioned can be
applied to local elections.
decentralization requires its logical
continuation, in particular by making
the corresponding amendments to the
constitutional reform requires two
parliamentary sessions in order for its
changes must be made immediately.
The adoption of a new contemporary
law on the civil service is also
imperative. Without this, the current
lustration being observed poses a
threat of paralyzing the functioning of
the state apparatus at an extremely
critical time for Ukraine.
A number of other spheres of
legislative regulation also require
immediate attention, in particular
harmonization of legislation with the
requirements of the Association
Agreement with the EU, reform of law
enforcement bodies, deregulation of
the economy, etc. Achievements in all
these directions are expected from the
Verkhovna Rada in the foreseeable
Ilko Kucheriv Democratic Initiatives Foundation
To sum it up, on the one hand over the first 100 days of its work the new parliament for
the most part does not meet the expectations of expert circles. Although the
parliament’s new make-up improved compared to its previous convocation, the quality
of its work remained quite low. Among the positive moments, noteworthy are the
relatively quick process of formation of the coalition and the government, as well as
coordination and fine-tuning of cooperation with the president and the government.
On the other hand, parliamentarians continue to violate the procedural regulations in
the process of submission, review and adoption of bills and failed to give enough
attention to their obligations of conducting reforms that were envisaged in the
coalition agreement. The inability to correct these flaws in the current turbulent
conditions in the country may have undesirable consequences for the current
parliament to the point of premature termination of its powers.
“Focus jn Ukraine” – weekly informational-analytical news bulletin prepared by the
Ilko Kucheriv Democratic Initiatives Foundation (
DIF Analysts:
Iryna Bekeshkina
Oleksiy Sydorchuk
Maria Zolkina
Editor-in-chief: Iryna Filipchuk
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