Recall of MPs and withdrawal from a CIS convention

26 August 2022
Recall of MPs and withdrawal from a CIS convention
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Volodymyr Zelensky submitted a bill to withdraw Ukraine from a convention of the Commonwealth of Independent States while an MP from the Servant of the People proposes to allow recalling MPs in violation of the Constitution. 

Recall of MPs by voters 

Draft bill # 7672 of August 15, 2022 

Sponsor: Heorhii Mazurashu, Servant of the People faction. 

Who is affected: voters, businesses, candidates for the parliament, MPs, government bodies, and local governments. 

Summary of the bill: Ukrainian voters will be able to recall MPs. 

  • reasons for recalling an MP: 
  • violations of the Constitution or Ukrainian laws 
  • systematic failure to perform MP’s duties 
  • misuse of powers for personal gain 
  • systematic violations of the norms of ethical and moral conduct 
  • actions contradicting the core principles and provisions of MP’s election platform 
  • concealment of property and income. 
  • an MP can be dismissed only by voters of his or her district. To initiate a recall, at least 300 voters from each community within the district must hold a gathering. Each gathering must be concluded with a protocol signed by voters wishing to recall the MP 
  • a proposal to recall an MP has to be supported by signatures on signing lists within 45 days by the number of voters not less than a number of voters in the district who supported other candidates (except the elected one) plus 10% of this number 
  • if there are enough signatures, the Central Election Commission sets the date it will vote on the recall of the MP 
  • after the official publication of the results, if the majority of the district voters voted to recall the MP, the CEC makes a decision on his or her early dismissal. 

What is wrong: 

  • the bill violates the Constitution. The Constitution has a conclusive list of the reasons for MP’s early dismissal, and this list does not allow voters to recall MPs 
  • in theory, voters can only recall MPs elected in single-seat districts, that is, when a particular candidate has direct ties with a particular district. The next parliamentary election will be held under the proportional electoral system with open regional lists, so it will preclude the possibility to recall an MP 
  • the bill paves the way for other candidates and parties to abuse the recall mechanism since they will be able to incite voters to recall the winner. This will result in political chaos and disillusionment both in candidates and state institutions 
  • introduction of this mechanism will make MPs unable to vote for unpopular bills and the Parliament will turn into an ineffective populist body. MPs should have a measure of free action and the freedom to vote 
  • it will be impossible to use the list of reasons for recalling an MP proposed by the bill. Most of the reasons are already recognized as crimes and, according to the Constitution, any of them is enough for dismissing an MP. For other reasons, a court decision will be necessary to prove that there is a reason to recall an MP. For example, the fact that an MP systematically fails to perform his or her duties or acts contrary to his or her election platform. Judiciary will then have an excessive influence over the Parliament. 

Withdrawal from the CIS Convention on Legal Aid and Legal Relations in Civil, Family, and Criminal Cases and the Protocol to the Convention 

Draft bill # 0163 of August 16, 2022 

Sponsor: Volodymyr Zelensky, the President of Ukraine. 

Who is affected: citizens, judges, prosecutors, and detectives in Ukraine, russia, and Belarus. 

Why this is important: 

  • the Convention was signed by the Commonwealth of Independent States members. In particular, Belarus, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, russia, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Armenia, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Ukraine, Georgia, and Turkmenistan. Under the Convention, Ukraine and contracting parties provide legal aid to citizens of the contracting parties, recognize their documents, provide information, define procedures for marriage, filiation, custody, adoption, recognize property rights, recognize and enforce decisions by organizations of justice concerning civil and family cases, etc. 
  • the Convention provisions are in effect for five years after it is signed and can be prolonged for five years each time. A contracting party can withdraw from the Convention by giving a 12-months notice before the end of a current five-year term. The current term ends on May 18, 2024. 

Summary of the bill: 

  • the Convention on Legal Aid and Legal Relations in Civil, Family, and Criminal Cases and the Protocol to the Convention with russia and Belarus will be terminated 
  • Ukraine will withdraw from the Convention and the Protocol due to gross violations by russia and Belarus of international humanitarian law. 

What is right: 

  • Ukraine breaks its ties with the aggressor states russia and Belarus that are methodically committing crimes against humanity and war crimes in Ukraine 
  • the bill contributes to the international isolation of russia and Belarus as aggressor states at war with Ukraine.