Ukrainian President Zelensky said electronic financial declarations by officials should "immediately" be available to the public, vetoing a law that triggered a scandal across Ukraine.

“Veto. This morning, we received a law from the Verkhovna Rada that retained restrictions on electronic declaration. These restrictions are unacceptable,” he said in a video message to Ukrainians, published on his Telegram channel on Tuesday, Sept. 12.

Despite calls from the public, the parliament members did not provide public access to the Unified Register of Declarations.

The draft legislation would have kept the register closed, with only two state agencies – the National Agency for the Prevention of Corruption and the National Anti-Corruption Bureau – having the authority to verify the information.

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Servant of the People party leader, David Arakhamia, defending the bill, said the register would only be closed for a year.

“We have introduced a provision allowing declarants to voluntarily make their declarations accessible to the general public, not just the regulatory bodies,” he said.

However, Zelensky called for immediate transparency.

“Not in a year. The register must be opened right now. In fact, this critical amendment should be voted on as soon as possible,” Zelensky said, countering his own party’s leader.

Last week a petition was created on the president’s website, calling for a veto of the bill. It quickly garnered the required number of signatures, with over 80,000 Ukrainians signing it.

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Zelensky also received calls from the European Parliament to veto the bill.

Zelensky previously said that a decision on the draft law would be made after consulting with Deputy Prime Minister for European Integration Olga Stefanishyna, as the restoration of the electronic declaration plays a crucial role in Ukraine’s path to joining the EU.

Last week, media reports, citing administration sources, suggested that Zelensky might veto the law based on its lack of transparency.

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According to a late July poll conducted by the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology (KIIS), 89 percent of Ukrainians consider corruption a major issue, ranking it second only to Russia’s invasion in terms of national concerns.

In recent months, a series of corruption scandals have shaken the administration, leading to the resignation of Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov.

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