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Klitschko: UDAR won't join work of Constitutional Assembly

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Dec. 7, 2012, 3:57 p.m. | Politics — by Interfax-Ukraine

Chairman of the Ukrainian opposition party Udar (Punch) Vitali Klitschko speaks during a rally outside the Central Election Commission in Kyiv, Nov. 6, 2012.
© AP

The UDAR Party still does not plan to send its delegates to the Constitutional Assembly, as it thinks this agency is completely controlled by the president, the party's leader Vitali Klitschko has said.

According to the party's press service, at a meeting with representatives of the Venice Commission Klitschko said that the assembly was created to amend the constitution in order to satisfy exclusively the interests of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych and strengthen his power. In connection with this, UDAR will not participate in this process.

The press service also said that the Venice Commission was interested most of all in the opposition's opinion on the law on referendums and a possibility to amend the constitution via calling a referendum. UDAR thinks that attempts to amend the country's main law via a referendum are the authorities' attempts to change all laws and even the constitution aimed at satisfaction of their own interests, which might result into establishment of authoritarianism in the country.

"The parliament has to amend the constitution, as this is envisaged by the constitution," Klitschko said.

The participants of the meeting also discussed the problem of the independence of Ukrainian courts. The party thinks that the current judicial system of Ukraine cannot be considered independent and unbiased. The sphere needs serious changes, according to the party.

UDAR said that independent financing, guarantees against the unjustified dismissal of judges, mandatory punishment for consciously pronouncing illegal verdicts, as well as the election, and not the appointment, of judges to administrative positions in courts, are the main ways to ensure the independence of Ukrainian courts.

As reported, Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych signed a decree on the Constitutional Assembly on May 17, 2012. According to the document, the Constitutional Assembly is a special auxiliary agency under the president of Ukraine.

The tasks of the Constitutional Assembly include drawing up bills of amendments to the Constitution of Ukraine, organizing the public and professional (involving international experts) discussion of the bills, as well as finalizing the text following such a discussion. After that, the assembly has to submit a final draft of the constitutional amendments to the Ukrainian president, and he will table them in parliament.

The Constitutional Assembly includes 94 people. There are no opposition representatives in it as of yet. Among the members of the assembly are scientists, legal experts, judges of the Constitutional Court, and Head of the Central Election Commission Volodymyr Shapoval.

Ukraine's first president (1991-1994) Leonid Kravchuk was appointed to chair the assembly.

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