Marek Siwiec MEP on Poland & Europe

A political season usually starts later in Ukraine than in Poland. Christmas holiday falls there in January. However, a Ukrainian political year has not started yet. Normally, the Parliament should resume its session on 5th February but it didn’t. Opposition blocked the parliament’s presidium and rostrum demanding introduction of personal voting.

The issue may sound somehow strange. In every parliament any attempt to vote on behalf of a friend using his voting card is out of the question. In Poland some deputies were even taken to court for such an offence 10 years ago. In Ukraine it is still admissible. Opposing parties of Yatseniuk, Klitschko and Tyahnybok have jointly claimed that in no circumstances will they agree for accepting the vote of deputies who are not present in the parliamentary room. Apparently, the Party of Regions opposes this stance since there are not many members dealing with business and other non-parliamentary activities among them. And it all revolves around a voting machine which was bought by a former Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, for 8 mln Ukrainian hryvnia in order to stop such practices. So far it has not been used.

If the Verkhovna Rada did not resume its sessions within 30 days, the president would have the right to dissolve it and call a new election. Obviously, I do not believe this could happen. The solution is again quite trivial and well-known in the world- fixed voting days, still not set in Ukraine, should be introduced there.

As for some other news from winter Kyiv, the Supreme Administrative Court has questioned the validity of deputy mandates of Pawel Baloga and Aleksander Dabrowski whose terms of office have already started. Both of them represent opposition parties. If the opinion of the Court turned out to be prevailing over the Electoral Commission we would witness a very dangerous precedent.

And one piece of news from the fields of business and politics. Ukraine’s most watched television channel Inter which belonged to Former Vice Premier Valery Khoroshkovsky was sold for 2,5 billion dollars to a well-known oligarch Dmytro Firtash and Serhii Levochkin, head of Yanukovych presidential chancellery.

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