How can Ukraine get out of the political dead-end without blood?

Posted by Borys Kushniruk on 19/02/14
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Ukraine has ended up in the political dead-end. And both the power and the opposition have many of those who would like to resolve the political crisis using the power scenario. As a result of the three-months political confrontation the national economy is also plunging deeper into the crisis. The government tries hard to provide the timely payment of pensions, social payments and salaries to workers of the budget sphere. In addition, the debts for the Russian gas have started to increase with incredible pace. Obviously, if the political destabilization continues, the government shouldn’t count on the very necessary external financing for the state budget deficit.

There is no doubt that depending on political affiliations it is possible to look for those guilty in the most dramatic crisis in all modern Ukraine’s history either in Russia or in Europe. But it seems that it has a purely internal reason. And the way-out of it will have to be found within the country.

Excessive centralization of power, lack of effective checks and balances rooted in the Constitution of Ukraine lies at the bottom of this crisis. Under such circumstances the winner gets everything, and evil be to those who lost.

In conditions of extreme mistrust between political forces it was an excessive hope to expect that they were capable of introducing necessary amendments to the Constitution. But in the meantime, this political crisis won’t be able to last that long, economy will simply not withstand it.

Therefore, to my mind, antagonistic political forces need to reach an agreement about the convocation of the Constitutional Assembly according to the experience of Iceland, for instance.  Representatives of different political parties, different regions of the country and national ethnic groups have to participate in it. Citizens of different social and age layers of the population, labor unions, non-governmental public organizations, religious confessions also need to be represented in it.

It’s clear that legislators and especially constitutional law experts have to be among them.

Their task has to be to write the text of the new Ukrainian constitution.

I don’t attempt to describe here everything which needs to be reflected in it.

I’d like to note only that the new constitution should provide much more powers to the local governments. It also has to provide much more effective mechanisms protecting the rights of opposition, yielding it more control functions.

Personally I believe it would be appropriate to essentially reduce the term of office to deputies of all levels — starting from local ones to the parliament. From the current five years to three or, even, two years. For example, re-elections of Congressmen in the US are conducted every two years.

Under such circumstances both those who won and those who lost are compelled to be in a continuous contact with voters and prepare for new elections.

But it is also important to ensure that the main condition for the participation in the Constitutional Assembly should be an obligation taken from the citizen that he/she will not work in governmental bodies and local governments, participate in elections to the parliament and local government bodies, be a judge or occupy senior positions in law enforcement agencies within next ten years. Under such conditions there will be a lot more bases to hope that its members will write this constitution not for themselves.

The new constitution needs to be ready as soon as possible – no more than three months. Afterwards, it has to be voted on at the all-Ukrainian referendum.

As to the government, the best way-out is to create a purely technocratic government for this time.  And members of the government have to make a commitment they won’t participate in the following presidential and parliamentary elections. Then they will think much more of how to conduct economic reforms and get the national economy out of the crisis, than about their own ratings.

The offered mechanism of crisis recovery has nothing new in it. In different countries and at various times basically such recreation of the state has already taken place. But for this purpose representatives of different pro-governmental and oppositional political forces need to have more responsibility and sacrifice not to allow for much more blood, than the blood that has, unfortunately, already shed in Ukraine.

 

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