Analysis of Plenary Work Results of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine of 8th Convocation

Let us review the results of the Verkhovna Rada’s work during the first six sessions, presenting them in tabular format with answers and comments.

Results of plenary work

(Table 1)

Session number

Number of plenary meetings conducted

Number of issues reviewed

Number of laws adopted

Number of adopted resolutions and other acts

Number of MP inquiries submitted

Number of parliamentary hearings conducted

Number of Hours of Questions to Government conducted

First adoption

In particular

Revised laws

Amendments made

Agreements ratified

1

17

162

35

6

29

-

96

102

-

2

2

69

981

226

28

161

37

296

2,452

6

12

3

54

470

137

18

93

24

176

1,610

4

8

4

69

518

106

7

79

22

394

2,712

9

10

5

54

444

105

12

77

16

243

2,048

7

9

6

64

478

120

14

81

25

186

2,710

3

10

Total

327

3,053

729

85

520

124

1391

11,634

29

51

 

The above table attests to a more or less uniform workload of the Verkhovna Rada during five of the six sessions of the 8th convocation. The results of the Parliament’s work during the second session were somewhat different; the difference is accounted for by the need to adopt a number of constituent decisions at the beginning of the convocation. The next four sessions have similar parameters for all types of activities. One can see from the table that the number of revised laws is significantly (six to ten times) smaller than the number of adopted bills amending existing laws; a similar situation was characteristic of the Parliament’s work of the previous convocations as well.

This is indicative of the necessity for adopting groups of draft laws amending existing laws as “topic-specific packages.”

Reference data on consideration of draft acts of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine from the beginning of the 8th convocation
(by Committees designated to be the lead ones in processing the drafts)

(Table 2)

 

Total number of
drafts reviewed

Among them

Approved
as a whole

Approved in 1st or 2nd reading

Upheld or returned for finalization

Dismissed or withdrawn from consideration

Committee on Agrarian Policy and Land Relations

148

22

6

14

106

Committee on Budget

338

72

5

21

240

Committee on Economic Policy

156

26

3

26

101

Committee on Legislative Support of Law Enforcement

233

65

15

14

139

Committee on National Security and Defense

182

60

2

34

86

Committee on Taxation and Customs Policy

185

63

20

18

184

Committee on Legal Policy and Justice

218

21

5

40

152

Committee on Social Policy, Employment and Pension Provision

161

38

4

5

114

This table presents the results of the work of those Committees that reviewed the greatest number of acts of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine. The high workload of these Committees is accounted for by the need to amend law codes (tax, customs), by the adoption of a resolution on holding local elections (elections to local self-government bodies), and by issues related to election of judges that were reviewed at the initial stage of work of the Verkhovna Rada of 8th convocation.

At the same time, it should be noted that during the convocation several Committees reviewed a much smaller number of draft laws: the Committee on Informatization and Communications, 25; on Culture and Spirituality, 35; on Science and Education, 67; on Freedom of Speech, 46; on Family Matters and Youth Policy, 51. This is indicative of the need for uniting several Committees focusing on humanitarian policy into a single Committee, so as to make the work of the Parliament’s future convocations more productive; this will provide for comprehensive consideration of matters within this sphere of regulation and will increase the efficiency of document management due to the merger of the secretariats of the said Committees. This is proposed by paragraph 17 of the Roadmap on Internal Reform that aims at reducing the number of Committees, which should closely parallel the ministerial portfolios.

Data on consideration by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine of draft laws (breakdown into holders
of the right to legislative initiative) from the beginning of the eighth convocation (sessions 1 – 6)

(Table 3)

Holder of the right to
legislative initiative

Total number of drafts reviewed

Among them

Approved as a whole

Approved in 1st or 2nd reading

Upheld or returned for finalization

Dismissed or withdrawn from consideration

President of Ukraine

113

99

5

3

6

As percentage of the total number

87.6%

5.3%

 

People’s Deputies of Ukraine

2291

391

90

289

1,521

As percentage of the total number

17.1%

66.4%

Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine

590

241

21

46

282

As percentage of the total number

40.1%

47.8%

Total

2994

731

116

338

1,809

As percentage of the total number

24.4%

60.4%

The above table is suggestive of the need to amend the Law of Ukraine “On the Rules of Procedure of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine” in a way aimed at reducing the legislative tsunami in the Verkhovna Rada. As we can see, draft laws submitted by the President of Ukraine are noted for a rather high rate of adoption as a whole (about 90%), while for draft laws initiated by MPs the rate is only 17%; for draft laws initiated by the Government, 40%.

The explanation for this situation is as follows: in most cases the President of Ukraine submits to the Verkhovna Rada draft laws that are comprehensive and well-processed. The share of presidential bills amending existing laws is rather low. These are the reasons for the high efficiency of acts initiated by the Head of State. At the same time, bills proposed by MPs focus primarily on amending existing laws, i.e. in most cases they do not constitute drafts of comprehensive legislative acts. This results from the fact that MPs act as outspoken lobbyists for economic sectors, territories, and in some cases individual companies and enterprises.

This problem shows that there is a need to change this trend of legislative practice; there are two ways to do so:

  • Firstly, this change would be facilitated by the system proposed by the Pat Cox Mission, namely, by the proposal emphasizing the necessity for establishing a specific limit to the number of legislative acts initiated by MPs, e.g. 20 bills. In that case, the Parliament will be interested in processing these drafts as fast as possible, so as to be able to move on to consideration of the next set of deputies’ legislative proposals.
  • Moreover, a scheme can be used in which an MP whose draft law has been registered must submit to the registration sector a Letter of Confirmation before the Chairperson of the Verkhovna Rada “assigns” the draft; in this case, the total number of MPs declaring their support for this MP’s legislative proposal must be not lower than the number of People’s Deputies in the smallest deputy faction.

We consider it expedient to establish a requirement that draft laws other than those amending existing laws be supported by no less than two factions.

Data on the number of adopted laws that were signed or returned with proposals (vetoed) by the President of Ukraine
and the results of their repeat consideration in the Parliament of 8th convocation

 

 

Transition from previous convocation

1st session

2nd session

3rd session

4th session

5th session

6th session

Total

Total number of final versions of laws referred to the President of Ukraine for signature

2

36

224

137

105

103

125

730

Signed and published by the President of Ukraine

2

34

217

134

99

97

104

685

In particular those re-considered
by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine

2

1

2

4

4

-

5

16

Under preparation or pending signature
by the President of Ukraine

 

 

 

 

 

2

19

21

Returned for repeat consideration with proposals (vetoed) by the President of Ukraine

2

2

7

3

6

4

2

24

Total number of laws returned after being vetoed by the President of Ukraine

4

2

11

7

11

7

3

45

Based on this Table, one has to acknowledge that the quality of the adopted draft laws is rather high. Thus, the number of draft laws adopted after repeat consideration by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine with proposals from the President of Ukraine (i.e. after being vetoed) is 16; this is a mere 2.3% of the total number of laws (685) signed by the President. Moreover, just 45 bills were returned by the President for repeat consideration, which also makes up a rather small share: 6.2%.

Therefore, one can say that the delayed presidential veto procedure provided for by the current Rules of Procedure of the Verkhovna Rada has stood the test of time, attesting to the fact that the President and the legislative body share a common range of interests; this similarity of interests has become systemic.

Reference data on consideration by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine of draft laws from the beginning of the convocation
(in terms of representation of deputy factions initiating the drafts)

(Table 5)

 

Factions/ deputy groups

Total number of reviewed drafts

Among them

For information

Approved as a whole

Approved in 1st or 2nd reading

Upheld or returned for finalization

Dismissed or withdrawn from consideration

Total number of registered drafts

1

Faction of the party “BLOC OF PETRO POROSHENKO”

675

134

35

88

418

1,327

Per one faction member
(faction consisting of 138 MPs)

4.89

0.97

3.03

2

Faction of the political party
“THE PEOPLE’S FRONT”

338

78

15

36

209

682

Per one faction member
(faction consisting of 81 MPs)

4.17

0.96

2.58

3

Faction of the political party “Opposition Bloc” in the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine of eighth convocation

180

6

2

27

145

436

Per one faction member
(faction consisting of 43 MPs)

4.19

0.14

3.37

4

Faction of the political party “Association ‘SAMOPOMICH’”

111

 

18

 

5

25

63

 

221

Per one faction member
(faction consisting of 26 MPs)

4.87

0.69

2.42

5

Faction of Oleh Liashko’s
Radical Party

131

39

8

12

72

274

Per one faction member
(faction consisting of 20 MPs)

6.55

1.95

З.6

6

Faction of the political party “All-Ukrainian Association ‘Batkivshchyna’” in the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine

150

26

8

15

101

289

Per one faction member
(faction consisting of 20 MPs)

7.5

1.3

5.05

7

Group “People’s Will”

55

3

 

10

42

148

Per one MP
(group consisting of 17 MPs)

3.24

0.43

2.47

8

Group “Party ‘Vidrodzhennia’”

125

6

1

16

102

250

Per one MP

(group consisting of 20 MPs)

4.84

0.23

3.92

9

MPs unaffiliated with fractions
or groups

365

31

11

56

267

884

Per one MP

(totaling 51 MPs)

7.16

0.61

5.23

10

MPs losing/resigning their mandate before their term expired

125

29

5

4

87

134

11

Total number of draft laws submitted

2,255

370

90

289

1,506

4,645

Per one MP

5.34

0.69

3.57

12

Transition from previous convocation

36

21

 

 

15

44

13

Total

2,291

 

391

 

90

289

1,521

 

4,689

Per one MP

5.43

0.93

5.6

We collated the most remarkable results in absolute terms against the respective index per one faction/group member or per one unaffiliated MP, so as to make more meaningful comparisons among the Parliament’s factions/groups and MPs that are not members of any factions or groups as regards the efficiency of their work. As we can see, the list is topped by factions of the All-Ukrainian Association “Batkivshchyna” and Oleh Liashko’s Radical Party. Batkivshchyna’s high coefficient is accounted for, inter alia, by the fact that a large part of its faction members are MPs with a history of previous parliamentary work (60%), while only 40% of the total number of current People’s Deputies were MPs of previous convocations. The high legislative initiative coefficient of Oleh Liashko’s Radical Party results from the focus of this political force on achieving higher popularity through demonstration of activity in the Parliament. However, it should be emphasized that the results of these factions are high primarily because during the first half of the time they spent in the Verkhovna Rada of 8th convocation they were part of the parliamentary majority; but when they left the coalition their legislative activity parameters went down significantly. This fact shows that opposition representatives have a much narrower range of opportunities for lobbying their legislative initiatives.

The above attests to the necessity for adopting appropriate amendments to the Law “On the Rules of Procedure of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine” that will enable the opposition to represent the interests of its electorate. Provisions of this sort, which regulated the rights and powers of the opposition in the Verkhovna Rada, were part of the Rules of Procedure before the Revolution of Dignity; the way things stand right now, however, is that they are not included in Draft Law No. 5522 which was meant to bring the Rules of Procedure in compliance with the current Constitution. Essentially, this was one of the main reasons why the proposal to put this draft on the agenda failed to be supported by the required majority of MPs.

Presumably, this fault will lead the Venice Commission to draw a negative conclusion on the aforementioned draft law, which, for unclear reasons, was recently submitted by the leadership of the Verkhovna Rada.

List of new and revised Laws
that were adopted and enacted
during the sixth session of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine of the eighth convocation (in chronological order)
as of July 13, 2017

(Table 6)

Date

Name and registration number of legislative act

07.02.2017

On Access to Construction, Transport and Power Engineering Facilities for the Development of Telecommunication Networks (2834-VIII)

07.02.2017

On Anti-Doping Control in Sport (1835-VIII)

16.03.2017

On Unified State Register of Persons Liable for Military Service (1951-VIII)

23.03.2017

On the Ukrainian Cultural Fund (2976-VIII)

23.03.2017

On State Support for Cinematography in Ukraine (1977-VIII)

13.04.2017

On Simplification of Procedures of Reorganization and Capitalization of Banks (1985-VIII)

13.04.2017

On Electricity Market (2019-VIII)

18.05.2017

On Recovery of Solvency of the State Coal-Mining Companies (2021-VIII)

23.05.2017

On State Control over Compliance with the Legislation on Food Products, Forages, By-Products of Animal Origin, Health and Welfare of Animals (2014-VIII) (due to take effect 9 months after the day of publication)

23.05.2017

On Environmental Impact Assessment (2059 - VIII) (due to take effect 6 months after the day of publication)

Total number of laws: 11

We presented data on the 6th session of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine of 8th convocation. It should be noted that the Law of Ukraine “On the Constitutional Court,” which was adopted at the session under review, will come into force on August 9. Another act adopted during this period was the Law “On Amending the Law of Ukraine ‘On the State Budget for 2017’.” Nevertheless, worthy of mention is the established practice of Rada’s processing of draft laws of questionable quality; in most cases such laws address subjects that are less urgent and crucial for the country. Such a situation leads to the need for subsequently adopting a great deal of laws aimed at removing legislative gaps and conflicts of laws.

Draft laws aimed at reforming the work of the Verkhovna Rada by creating conditions for raising the quality of drafting of legislative proposals and improving the procedures for adopting them in the Parliament at all stages of the legislative process – from registration to promulgation and publication of acts adopted by the Verkhovna Rada – are meant to eradicate defects in the work of the Parliament. It should be noted that the portfolio of the Committee on Rules of Procedure includes quality bills that are likely to essentially improve the work of the Verkhovna Rada; yet the dynamics of their enactment is rather low, as evidenced by the fact that only two of the fourteen laws amending the Rules of Procedure that were adopted since the beginning of operation of this convocation were specifically targeted at increasing the efficiency of the legislative procedure in the context of passage of bills through the Parliament; moreover, the amendments introduced by these acts were in fact of minor significance. The essence of these normative legal acts is as follows: one of them focuses on defining the minimum number of members a faction must have and the other regulates the procedure for reviewing previously passed legislation for the purpose of amending the Constitution.

The ability of this convocation of Parliament to effectively reform its work is rather low, which can be seen from the failure to elect heads of six parliamentary Committees and the head of the Ad Hoc Supervisory Panel on Privatization to replace the former heads. This means the absence of 7 heads out of 29, i.e. 24% of their total number. Moreover, the Committee in charge of matters related to the Rules of Procedure has had no head from the very beginning of operation of the current convocation.

Alyona Hurkivska,

Volodymyr Kryzhanivskyi

USAID RADA Program