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You're reading: Yanukovych forms Constitutional Assembly chaired by Kravchuk

Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych has signed a decree on the Constitutional Assembly.

The text of the document dated May 17 was posted on the president’s Web site on May 17.

According to the document, the Constitutional Assembly is a special auxiliary agency under the president of Ukraine.

The president proposed to appoint (by consent) Ukrainian President (1991-1994) Leonid Kravchuk as chairman of the assembly, Director of Koretsky Institute of State and Law of National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine Yuriy Shevshuchenko as deputy chairman, and Head of the Main Department for Constitutional and Legal Modernization at the Presidential Administration of Ukraine Maryna Stavniychuk as secretary of the assembly.

The president instructed the presidential administration to provide organization and information support for the activity of the Constitutional Assembly, charged the State Affairs Department with financial and material and technical tasks, and instructed the National Institute for Strategic Studies to carry out scientific tasks and provide consultations.

The document also contains an initiative to propose that the National Academy of Legal Sciences of Ukraine, Koretsky Institute of State and Law of National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, Kuras Institute of Political and Ethnic Studies of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, and Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv carry out scientific tasks and consultations for the Constitutional Assembly.

The expert group in charge of the preparations for the work of the assembly will stop its work as soon as the Constitutional Assembly starts to work, according to the document.

The decree took effect starting from the date of its publication.

As reported, President Yanukovych signed on February 21, 2011 a decree on support for an initiative by the first president of Ukraine (1991-1994), Leonid Kravchuk, to create a Constitutional Assembly to amend the main law.

With another decree on January 25, 2012 the president set a deadline for submitting proposals on the composition of the Constitutional Assembly of April 16, 2012.

Stavniychuk said that the Constitutional Assembly would include 100 members. The assembly will be formed on the principle of equality. In particular, there are twelve places for all parliamentary factions and groups, and each of them can nominate one candidate for membership at the assembly. Six of the twelve places are foreseen for members of the ruling party and the parties that support it, and six more places are foreseen for opposition politicians. Apart from the parliamentary forces, the parties that received more than 100,000 votes at the last presidential or parliamentary elections, namely the Front for Change Party, Vitali Klitschko’s UDAR Party, Svoboda All-Ukrainian Union, the Socialist Party of Ukraine, the Labor Party of Ukraine, the Yedyny Tsentr Party, will have a right to nominate their members. However, most places will be taken by scientists.

On January 30, 2012 Leader of the Front for Change Party Arseniy Yatseniuk said that the Dictatorship Resistance Committee had decided not to join the Constitutional Assembly, the creation of which was initiated by President Yanukovych. On the same day, the press service of Vitali Klitschko’s UDAR Party made a statement that the party joined the oppositional forces that had refused to work in the Constitutional Assembly.

EU representatives have said that the concept of the Constitutional Assembly, which was developed in close cooperation with experts from the Venice Commission, could give strong arguments for involving representatives from the opposition and public organizations. The EU paid special attention to the issues of interaction between the Constitutional Assembly and the Venice Commission. In connection with this, the concept of the assembly foresees participation of European experts in all stages of its work.

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