KIEV, July 3 (RAPSI) – Two parliamentary majority parties, Batkivshchyna and Svoboda (Freedom), have rejected the amendments to the constitution proposed by Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, the parties’ representatives said on Tuesday.
In late June, Poroshenko submitted constitutional amendments to the Verkhovna Rada. The amendments were intended to decentralize authority.
He proposed adding a definition for ‘parliamentary opposition’ and terminating the notion of ‘the imperative mandate’, under which members of parliament are bound by the constitution and laws of Ukraine to remain members of the parliamentary group or bloc in which they were elected.
Poroshenko also proposed empowering the prime minister to nominate defense and foreign ministers. In addition, he wanted to have the authority to dismiss the prosecutor general and the head of Ukraine’s security service (SBU) without parliamentary approval. The proposed amendments would also have allowed local governments to give special status to the Russian language or other national minority languages within their jurisdiction.
“Svoboda will not support these amendments,” party leader Oleh Tyahnybok said, adding that some of the proposals were unacceptable to his party.
Specifically, Tyahnybok rejected the amendments to Article 143 under which Russian and other ethnic minority languages could receive the status of an official language by decision of local governments. He added that none of the proposals advanced by Svoboda had been considered.
On Thursday, Batkivshchyna instructed the head of its parliamentary group, Serhiy Sobolev, to immediately request that the president postpone the discussion of his amendments to the constitution.
“Batkivshchyna is urging the president to formulate an amendment that would preclude the unlawful seizure of power by the new head of state and would provide for a real decentralization of authority,” the party said in a press statement.