“If the Donbass people vote – with the President bribes smooth”. Why “the Servant of the people” urgently needed law on referendum

"Если по Донбассу проголосует народ - с президента взятки гладки". Зачем “Слуге народа” срочно понадобился закон о референдуме

In the Verkhovna Rada are looking for new forms of voting citizens, photo: Information Department of the Verkhovna Rada, rada.gov.uathe Verkhovna Rada is working on a new draft law on the referendum instead of the law passed in 2012 and recognized in 2018 unconstitutional.

According to the “Country,” this bill will be included in the package of legislative initiatives of the Office of the President (OP) Vladimir Zelensky or Pro-presidential party “servant of the people” (SN), which will include also the project, supplementing the provision of the Constitution (in process of adoption) on the legislative initiative of the people of Ukraine, and the project is about the recall of deputies of all levels.

However, the priority is (at least officially) the project on the referendum, which will likely be devoted exclusively to plebiscite at national level and under local referenda it is planned to write a separate law. In SN promise not to delay the adoption of these bills.

What caused the concern of the authorities these issues were dealt with “Country”.


As reported, the Country, the Parliament established a working group to prepare a number of bills on the General subject of democracy.

It was led by the first Deputy Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada Ruslan Stefanchuk, elected on the lists of SN. It includes, among other things, the deputies from Pro-presidential faction, led by leader David Arakhamiya, the members of the Central election Commission (CEC), experts in constitutional law and representatives of the Ministry of digital transformation.

On Tuesday, November 5, at the Parliament held the second meeting of the working group.

According to interlocutors of the edition in the fraction of SN that initially the meeting was planned to discuss the concept of draft laws on the procedure for conduct of referenda, the implementation mechanism of people’s right to legislative initiative and the procedure of recall of deputies of all levels. Specialists in digital technologies due to a desire to apply in these areas of advanced technology.

After the recognition by the Constitutional court in 2018 unconstitutional law on a national referendum, created a legislative vacuum, because the Constitution among the forms of direct democracy, the plebiscite mentioned, and, therefore, need a law to implement this right of citizens.

It is important that the law from 2012 after the adoption of the canceled law “On all-Ukrainian and local referendum” dated July 3, 1991, on which there was a plebiscite by popular initiative, launched by President Leonid Kuchma in 2000. If you are returning to the idea of referenda on the boundaries of administrative-territorial units, it is necessary to describe it in a separate law or in common with the national plebiscite.

The need for a law arose after Rada sent for approval to the constitutional court the amendments to the Main law on which the right to make laws is given in addition to the deputies of the President and Cabinet also “people of Ukraine”.

As for the possibility of recall of deputies of all levels, the SN I think it is a way to increase responsibility of deputies before voters.

However, these two projects, the risk to stay at the level of discussions and here’s why.

Old song in a new way

Co-chair of the “Reanimation package of reforms”, expert-constitutionalist Yulia Kyrychenko, which is part of the working group, said “the Country” that at the last meeting, the group decided to focus on the drafting of a national referendum, to separate from it the subject of a local referendum.

“The next meeting will be held in two weeks. It is planned to develop a coordinated concept of the bill on the referendum,” she commented. In General, it refers to the mood inside the working group “quite constructive”.

MP Oleksandr Kopylenko (“servant of the people”), which the working group expects that work on the bill and the rest of the package will move quickly.

“There is a conceptual framework that have been developed and discussed, there is a separate different pieces and blocks (future bills – Ed.)” – said “the Country” Kopylenko, who until the election was supervised by the Institute of legislation of the Verkhovna Rada.

According to Kyrychenko, representatives of SN assume that the basis of the new draft of the referendum will be old ideas of a group of authors headed by the former Deputy President of the constitutional court Volodymyr Shapoval, which was itself the expert.

That is was written by bill No. 2145а in the Verkhovna Rada of the previous convocation, was in June of 2015. The event was initiated by a group of deputies from different parliamentary factions. Although in March 2017 major project-legal Committee of the Parliament approved it, he never got into the agenda, and in August 2019 was generally withdrawn.

Julia Kirichenko, recalled the main provisions of the bill.

First, clearly define the subject of the referendum and must not be manipulative questions, says Kirichenko, such as those imposed on all-Union referendum on preserving the Soviet Union. In General, the question should be only one.

Second, are separated by informational support of holding a referendum and campaigning. When this agitation was the parity of the arguments for and against referendum proposals, and informing about the date and subject of the plebiscite is the duty of the state.

Third, district and precinct referendum commissions are formed parity advocates and opponents of the question submitted to plebiscite.

Fourthly, the turnout of voting, which signals about the viability of the referendum.

Fifth, it is prohibited to combine the referendum with any election.

This list with representatives of the “servant of the people” opinions differ about the subject of the referendum. “They (the“servants of the people”) another way of looking at it,” – said the expert Kirichenko no details.

According to the bill №2145а the subject of national referendum may not include a vote on amendments to section I “General provisions”, section III “Elections.” Referendum” and section XIII “Introduction of amendments to the Constitution of Ukraine” Basic law, as well as changes in the country and the abolition of a law of Ukraine or some of its provisions.

The Constitution gives the nod

At the moment the Verkhovna Rada has registered draft laws №1123 “On all-Ukrainian and local referendum on a popular initiative” group of deputies from “Oppositional platform For life”, headed by the co-chairs of fraction Yury Boiko and Vadim Rabinovich, No. 1221 national Deputy Dmytro Shpenov (independent) on local referendum and no. 2182 of a group of deputies from “Batkivshchyna”, led by the leader Yulia Tymoshenko.

Judging by the fact that the OP and “public servants” engaged in own projects on the same topic, chances are there are other similar documents to obtain the approval of the session are minimal. If they do come out of Committee.

One gets the impression that the government is in a hurry. Although in the fraction of SN is in denial.

“No hurry, with no bills. It was the President’s promise on the expansion of democracy, so this is one of our priorities”, – said “the Country” the people’s Deputy Vitaly Bezgin (SN), which is included in the working group.

However, MP Oleksandr Kopylenko (“servant of the people”) says that because of “sufficient relevance” of these projects “the work on it should go rapidly,” and the acceptance “is not a distant prospect”.

In turn, people’s Deputy of the eighth convocation Leonid Yemets, who was one of the initiators of the draft law on referendum in 2015, suspects that the attention of SN to the subject of the referendum has arisen by chance.

“The provision about the referendum undoubtedly needs to be the law, but in our political environment the adoption of this act opens up the possibility of legitimization in a society of some kind, perhaps even very controversial, initiatives. If today the Parliament will adopt a mixed solution, starting from the start of the land market to Donbass, all the buds will fall on the President, who has monopolista in Parliament, and, therefore, is responsible for voting. But if the initiative is implemented through a referendum, then the President and his party bribes smooth, because it will be the position of the majority of Ukrainian citizens,” – says Leonid Yemets.

At the same time people’s Deputy of the eighth convocation Igor Popov, citing sources, says that SN finally attended to the fulfillment of the promises Zelensky since the election on the subject of democracy.

“It was one of the key promises of the President, and Parliament for two months of work is not particularly advanced in this direction. They decided to accelerate. Moreover, a referendum is a basic form of direct democracy. But will discuss other forms of democracy, including interactive. They can offer discussion with the citizens of bills and polls, how to vote in the Parliament, and updated the e-petition. All this can serve as a constant involvement of citizens in the process of governance between elections, and with the help of digital technologies that they are so impressed,” says Igor Popov comments in the “Country.”

It should be noted that the Constitution stipulated that the people’s will is exercised through elections,referenda and “other forms of direct democracy”, which is not specified.

So the “public Servants” is where to turn.

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