Alexander Gorobets: Kuchma threatened the Parliament that had dared to dismiss the first vice-speaker

A scandal about the unexpected resignation the former vice-speaker of Ukraine’s parliament Viktor Medvedchuk is not dying in Kiev. Ex-prime minister of Ukraine Viktor Yuschenko says that he has nothing to do with the event, as he is not a people’s deputy. Moreover, he has no grudges against Viktor Medvedchuk for the organization of the resignation of Yuschenko’s Cabinet by a vote of no-confidence through the Supreme Rada.

They even say that the president of the Ukrainian Union of Lawyers fell into a trap he had designed for others. In January 2000, being in the position of Supreme Rada Deputy Chairman, Viktor Medvedchuk was head of a so-called “velvet revolution” organized on President Kuchma’s initiative. Viktor Medvedchuk took part in the removal of two representatives of the left forces, Speaker of the Parliament Alexander Tkachenko and First Vice-Speaker Adam Martynyuk. For this purpose, Medvedchuk abolished the regulations on a vote of no-confidence of members of the parliament. The original regulations provided for a justificative report of the person who was given a vote of no-confidence within five days. He could report about the work done to the Rada. Viktor Medvedchuk introduced the following amendment: if over 150 deputies vote for no-confidence in the government, it is to be immediately voted on. No justificative reports are allowed in this case.

This was a convenient way for removal of the left forces from the Parliament in 2000, but the new amendment remained a norm, and it worked on December 13, 2001, when the amendment was applied to Viktor Medvedchuk himself. Last Thursday, 167 signatures for resignation of the first vice-speaker of the Parliament were collected. The problem was put to the vote. After voting, the number of deputies supporting resignation of Viktor Medvedchuk increased to 234.

Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma commented upon the event. He says that Medvedchuk’s resignation testifies that the Parliament’s deputies are incapable of creating an effective majority. Leonid Kuchma told journalists that the December 13 events confirm the fact that “it was a merely situational majority, when interests of the political powers coincided."

In the president’s words, the constant opposition between the executive and legislative authorities is to be removed before the coming elections to the Supreme Rada. He meant, first of all, the implementation of results of the All-Ukrainian referendum. During the referendum held on April 16, 2000 in Ukraine, over 80% of the voters supported all four questions submitted to the referendum. According to these decisions, the president can dissolve the parliament if the deputies fail to form a majority within a month or if a draft budget is not approved within 3 months. The immunity can be limited; the number of the parliamentary deputies can be reduced from 450 to 300 and a two-chamber parliament can be formed.

However, several times already, Ukraine’s Supreme Rada failed to come to a positive decision concerning the implementation of the referendum’s results. Thus, the problem was withdrawn from the agenda. In accordance with the legislation, it can be considered once again in 2002, when a new parliament is elected.

Alexander Gorobets PRAVDA.Ru Kiev Ukraine

Translated by Maria Gousseva

In the photo: Viktor Medvedchuk

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