The Parliament of Ukraine has decided today to schedule the next presidential election on 25 October 2009. Just to remind, previously most of MPs and experts suggested the election of President has to be held in January 2010 – 4 years after the Inauguration day. The decision of Verkhovna Rada was a kind of an answer to the Presidential address to Parliament (yesterday).
Actually the real background of today’s vote of Ukrainian Parliament is hiding not exactly in the speech of the President of Ukraine Viktor Yushchenko, and even not in his unexpected idea to change a Constitution by himself, or to introduce a two-chamber Parliament with a rather weak Lower House.
There is a rumor that the Presidential Secretariat has already drafted a Decree to dismiss the current Parliament and to call for a snap parliamentary election in a nearest future. To stay ahead, all the parliamentary factions united in common decision: to cut the presidential term of Mr. Yushchenko for 3 months. The second, but not less significant goal of the MPs was to secure their immunities: the Constitution says the Parliament shall not be dismissed during 6 months before presidential election.
401 of MPs voted in favor of “25 October”, 7 – the Presidential part of Our Ukraine – People’s Self-Defence faction (United Center party) – voted against. Vyacheslav Kyrylenko, member of OU-PSD, addressed his colleagues during the parliamentary debates: “What are we afraid of? Early parliamentary election? Dear Mr. Speaker, do you have information on the respective Decree of the President? Please, make this information public!”
What's next? Viktor Yushchenko is going to challenge the decision of Parliament in the Constitutional Court of Ukraine. “This decision is not legal, this decision does not correspond to the Constitution”, he said today. “All of them are going to lose before the October… The election will be held in due time, provided by the Constitution of Ukraine”.
The version of the Constitution of Ukraine acting in 2004 (when Mr. Yushchenko was elected) says the presidential election should be held every four years. A current edition of the Constitution provides that the President shall be in power during four years after he assumed the office.