Compliance with the Law of Ukraine “On the Rules of Procedure of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine” during the plenary week June 6-9, 2017

Compliance with the Law of Ukraine “On the Rules of Procedure of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine” during the plenary week June 6-9, 2017

During the plenary week under review, no gross violations of the Rules of Procedure were observed in the work of the chair of the meetings; however, there were a lot of things attesting to the fact that there had been no significant improvement so far in the work of Ukraine’s legislative body. It should be emphasized that this primarily results from the lack of parliamentary reform. At present, the main problem consists in the noncompliance of some provisions of the Rules of Procedure with the provisions of the current Constitution. This has been substantially slowing down the work of the Verkhovna Rada for three years and three months already.

We will point out what we believe are the most important drawbacks that were unwillingly or sometimes even purposefully committed by the chairs of the meetings or by MPs during the week in question. These include the following:

  1. Yet again, we state that during the meeting of the Conciliation Board (CB) of deputy factions (deputy groups) on June 6, the provision of paragraph two, part fourteen, Article 73 of the Rules of Procedure of the VR of Ukraine was not observed; it provides that the Conciliation Board “shall consider and approve proposals regarding … the weekly agenda of the plenary meetings.” That violation appears to have become systematic: similar to previous occasions, the proposals are heard, but the members of the Conciliation Board fail to approve the agenda.

It should be noted that the Chairman of the VR of Ukraine said that on Tuesday of the week prior to a session week the heads of the Committees are to report proposals as to the list of draft laws that they believe should be considered. On The Chairman reported that, in essence, this plan had not changed in any way after the meeting of the Conciliation Board, although proposals were voiced by all interested persons, factions, Committees, and the Cabinet of Ministers. If so, it becomes clear that meetings of the CB turn into a pure formality and that this is the reason why no voting on the agenda is conducted at the CB meeting.

  1. During the current session week, no draft law was discussed in accordance with the complete procedure for discussion, even in the case of draft laws concerning the medical reform, even though the Rules of Procedure specify that this type of procedure for consideration of issues should be used “as a rule.”
  2. We would like to note that during the discussion of the agenda, no bill drafted exclusively by MPs of opposition factions was proposed for consideration. Likewise, no draft law from these factions was included in the session agenda.

This shows that certain amendments must be made in the Rules of Procedure, so as to provide for some mandatory quota for these factions in the legislative process.

  1. Worthy of separate mention is the consideration of Draft Laws Nos. 6427 and 6427-1 related to Constitutional Court reform. Draft Law No. 6427, proposed by MP S. Alekseev, was registered as the main one; after its inclusion in the agenda it could no longer be withdrawn. However, for no apparent reason, it was not discussed by the full Parliament. The explanation provided by the chair of the meeting was that the holder of the legislative initiative was unwilling to take part in the discussion; that argument, however, is not a sufficient reason for adopting such a decision. Indeed, in such a case the Committee’s opinion on the draft law should have been voiced by its representative; then the draft could simply be dismissed by the vote of the Parliament. In such a case, the provision on ad hoc deviation from the procedure could be used to pass the decision to dismiss the draft without discussing it.

After that, another violation of the Rules of Procedure took place; it consisted in that the bill drafted by the Committee as a substitute for Alekseev’s bill was discussed by the Parliament without being accepted for consideration. No draft law may be considered without a relevant decision by the full Parliament. We would like to note that alternative bills can only be included in the list of draft laws to be considered following approval by voting; besides, MP Odarchenko’s alternative draft law No. 6427-1 was accepted for consideration on June 6, 2017.

  1. We must mention the low productivity of the legislative process, which is accounted for, as we previously said, not so much by deliberate violations on the part of the chairs of the meetings or parliamentary obstruction as by faults in the Law on the Rules of Procedure itself. In the first place, this pertains to the procedure of second reading, when the discussion of proposals and amendments leads to temporizing. It is necessary to consider amendments to the Rules of Procedure as fast as possible, so as to allow adopting provisional decisions by a simple majority of the MPs taking part in the voting, i.e. by those directly participating in the voting.

Secondly, it is necessary to change the procedure for confirming proposals and amendments that were taken into consideration. Implementation of the current procedure results in disregard for the opinion of experts – MPs that are members of the lead Committee. Recently, this practice has been causing substantial deterioration of adopted legislative acts, resulting in the passing of laws on amending recently adopted laws.

Finally, we present a statistical table reflecting the work of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine during the session week under review.

Processing of acts by the Verkhovna Rada on June 6-9, 2017

Type of decision

Draft laws

Resolutions

Holder of legislative initiative

People’s Deputy of Ukraine

President of Ukraine

CMU

People’s Deputy of Ukraine

President of Ukraine

CMU

Included in the agenda

3

1

2

1

 

 

Not included in the agenda

4

 

2

 

 

 

1st reading: approved as the basis

2

 

1

 

 

 

Returned for finalization

 

 

 

 

 

 

1st reading: repeated

2

 

1

 

 

 

2nd reading: repeated

2

 

 

 

 

 

Adopted in second reading

4

 

 

 

 

 

Adopted

7

2

7

 

 

 

Dismissed

1

 

1

 

 

 

               

It should be noted that only three of the sixteen draft laws that were adopted are primary legislative acts; five deal with the granting of consent by the Verkhovna Rada to the binding nature of international agreements; and eight bills are about introducing amendments to Laws.

 

Alyona Hurkivska, Volodymyr Kryzhanivskyi