12.05.2021

Parliament says no to president

Despite the fact that yesterday the Rada failed to make an important decision, for the formation of parliamentarism as a whole, it was a good day. In short, it was an attempt to blackmail the parliament by the head of state. Bidding around the new Central Election Commission went until the night before yesterday. The presidential administration knew that at least three factions would not vote for this issue, since they were afraid of the presidential majority in the CEC.

However, the head of state insisted on a vote, and when it failed, he recalled his people from the hall, hinting that he could initiate the dissolution of the coalition and begin the procedure for early elections. In response, the Verkhovna Rada, led by Andriy Parubiy, decided to demonstrate that it was able to collect votes and remain capable even against the will of the head of state and without his faction.

What happened

In the morning, the text of the decree on the appointment of 14 new members of the Central Election Commission appeared on the agenda. For understanding, the term of office of the Central Election Commission expired two years ago, which did not prevent the president from awarding the head of the CEC with an order and maintaining his illegitimate status for two years.

In the morning there were no signs of a crisis. But already during the vote 47 votes were lost. The lion’s share of the Popular Front, the Fatherland, the Will of the people, Vidrodzhennya and the Opposition bloc did not vote for the resolution. It is unclear who failed whom and why, in principle, the decision appeared on the agenda without prior approval. There are two rational explanations.

(1) 10 out of 14 candidates proposed by the CEC are affiliated with the environment of Petro Poroshenko. Including, 7 people officially nominated by his faction, one member – according to the BLOW quota and one candidate from the group Will of the people and Vidrodzhennya. If such a composition were elected, the head of state would completely control the Central Election Commission. In general, this is the main reason why, within two years, the head of state torpedoed the change of the Central Election Commission composition that was advantageous to him – he prepared a worthy replacement for them.

(2) The second reason is that they did not figure out whom to “throw” (the jargon is not mine, I quote colleagues). The fact is that there are only 13 vacancies for this in the CEC, and 14 candidates have been nominated for consideration of the hall. Accordingly, the question arose of who would not get the chair and, obviously, the representative of one of the opposition factions could be the most likely victim.

After the failure of the vote on the new composition of the CEC, the BPP faction announced a boycott and refused to vote for any other laws in the hall. In response, the opposition factions, groups and independent deputies have realized that they can continue the work of the Verkhovna Rada without the votes of the presidential faction.

Let me remind you that the presidential faction has 136 deputies. In total, there are 422 deputies in the hall, and a minimum of 226 votes is required to make any decision. Opponents of the BPP boycott turned out to have 286 deputies. After a long break, parliament nevertheless demonstrated that it could make a decision without a presidential faction, giving 240 votes for the first bill on the agenda. Repeating this on an ongoing basis will be difficult, but as a symbol – indicative.

What as a result

This is not the first time that parliament has gone against the will of the president. In December last year, the Verkhovna Rada refused to vote for the presidential bill on the dismissal of the head of NABU; then there was a story with the Anti-Corruption Court and the law on National Security, in which the position of the head of state was taken into account, to put it mildly, not in everything.

Speaking of early elections, theoretically, of course, this is possible. But legally this is a complex mechanism, and, based on my experience, I am sure that with the current balance of power, it is impossible to launch such a procedure without the consent of key fractions. At the same time, everyone understands why the president may need this, but few can explain why the rest of the players need it.

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