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Position of the Coalition of non-governmental organizations "For Fair Referendum” on the political and legal evaluation of the law "On Ukrainian referendum” and ways to avoid its implementation

29.04.2013
Constitutional order /
Political parties and elections

Section I  Political and legal evaluation of the Law "On Ukrainian referendum"

On November 6-th, 2012 the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine adopted the Law of Ukraine    "On national referendum", exceeding their authority and violating the procedure determined by the Constitution of Ukraine and the Rules of Procedure of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine.


Section I  Political and legal evaluation of the Law "On Ukrainian referendum"

On November 6-th, 2012 the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine adopted the Law of Ukraine    "On national referendum", exceeding their authority and violating the procedure determined by the Constitution of Ukraine and the Rules of Procedure of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine.

The law includes many unconstitutional provisions, in particular:

1. The unconstitutional procedure for the adoption of the new Constitution, amendment of the current Constitution by conducting referendum is determined.

The law allows amending the Constitution, adopting a new version in a manner that contradicts the Fundamental Law of Ukraine. The Parliament and the Constitutional Court are completely excluded from this process. President and CEC become the main actors of the constitutional reform. The re-establishment of the state might happen by holding a referendum, as the law allows adopting a new Constitution of Ukraine.

2.  The law determines procedures for national referendum which do not comply with the Constitution and conceptually contradict the European standards, in particular:

–  Parliament is excluded from the legislative process;

–  the procedures do not provide valid outcome of the vote;

– during the agitation the freedom of speech is violated – the law establishes mechanism of control for independent thought and restricts freedom of thought through temporary (until the end of the referendum) suspension of the media release;

– Referendum Commissions are formed in a non-transparent way from the representatives of the Presidential vertical and do not require a quorum for decision-making;

– political parties and public organizations are deprived of the right to be represented by observers;

– all referendum decisions are obligatory and come into force since the moment of CEC announcement of the voting results;

– judicial appeal against actions of officials during organization of the referendum and the establishment of its results is limited.

3.    The law deprives citizens of their constitutional right to participate in local referenda.

Section II About Coalition “FOR FAIR REFERENDUM”

Non-governmental organizations Centre for Political and Legal reforms, Ukrainian Centre for Independent Political Research, Centre UA, Laboratory of Legislative Initiatives, Election Law Institute, being united by the common purpose of protecting the constitutional order of Ukraine, adhering the constitutionality of the Constitution amending process, established the coalition “For Fair Referendum”.

The coalition aims:

– to prevent conduction of manipulative referenda in Ukraine and its regions;

– to prevent amendments to the Constitution of Ukraine in an unconstitutional manner.

Coalition representatives developed a constitutional petition (document enclosed) to recognize the provisions of the Law of Ukraine "On Ukrainian referendum" as such that contravene the Constitution of Ukraine. On April 25, 2013 they applied with the petition to opposition MPs and the Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights, who have the right to constitutional petition, and urged them to immediately submit the petition to the Constitutional Court of Ukraine.