Punish Rada Rats

KIEV, Ukraine -- For those brave or bored enough to watch the sessions of parliament, many Westerners inevitably ask themselves why their own parliaments are so comparably calm. The Dec. 11 Rada session provided more food for thought.

Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko (R) speaks with Parliament Speaker Arseniy Yatsenyuk after voting in the parliament in Kiev. Ukraine's parliament on Tuesday narrowly rejected the candidacy of Orange Revolution leader Yulia Tymoshenko for prime minister amid accusations of vote tampering.

The coalition blamed its failure to approve the president’s nomination of Yulia Tymoshenko as prime minister on «technical provocations» by the opposition, which it accused of fixing the Rada computer system. The Security Service of Ukraine said it did not find evidence of tampering.

Then how did three deputies fail to vote properly in what experts say is a secure and easy system? The mystery remains unsolved.The inanity was capped off by Regions MP Vladyslav Lukyanov’s swiping Parliamentary Chair Arseniy Yatsenyuk’s card while voting was in progess.

If not for that, the Tymoshenko vote would have been repeated, perhaps successfully. But Lukyanov said he was on a mission to save parliamentary procedure from being trampled upon by the rookie speaker.

Perhaps one reason these antics don’t occur in the West, or at least with the same frequency, is members of parliament don’t have the luxury of enjoying prosecutorial immunity.

Ukraine’s members of parliament can essentially get away with murder, literally, because they enjoy immunity from prosecution. It’s one of the reasons why so many businessmen, who gained their riches through corruption, become deputies in the first place.

Yatsenyuk submitted a complaint to the Prosecutor General’s Office against Lukyanov’s deeds, but that isn’t likely to produce results, given the PGO’s track record. To echo Our Ukraine-People’s Self-Defense’s recent campaign slogan, the law applies to all. Let’s eliminate prosecutorial immunity now.

Another nuance of the Ukrainian parliament is its procedural rules are not entrenched in law. The rules of order are being constantly violated.

Most Western parliaments don’t have the need to enforce regimen because a culture of respect for the law is in place. Most Ukrainian parliamentarians, on the other hand, haven’t been able to shake off the Soviet tradition of ignoring the law, which is considered an impediment instead of a benefit.

The Rada should make adoption of a law on its regimen a top priority.

Source: Kyiv Post