If you think the European Union is having a difficult time in adopting a unified position on the establishment of a constitution to govern the Europe . The troubles facing the EU is nothing compared to the division that exist within Ukraine.
The only point of agreement is that the constitution needs change.
The current political crisis, brought about by the President, Viktor Yushchenko’s dismissal of Ukraine’s democratically elected parliament, has highlighted a number of issues that need to be addressed.
Parliamentary Democracy versus Presidential Dictatorship
There are essentially two main variants on the table, each with a multitude of variations within each variation.
Viktor Yushchenko and the Our Ukraine group are advocating a return to a system of Presidential rule by decree where the power and authority of government is invested in the hands of the president, who would have the right to determine who should be prime-minister and hold ministerial positions with the parliament being sidelined to as a legislative rubber stamp. System of government should not be decided on the basis of any one individual or political party. Clearly the president and his political party have a vested interest in pursuing a presidential model as opposed to supporting a parliamentary democracy.
The Governing Coalition spearheaded by Dr Olexandr Moroz has proposed that Ukraine become a full parliamentary democracy in line with other European States. The proposal for Ukraine to become a full preliminary model is backed up by recommendations outlined in a recent PACE review arsing form the president’s political crisis.
One of the multitude of sub-variants is the proposal to create a bicameral (two house) parliamentary system.
Yulia Tymoshenko, defacto opposition coalition leader, in the mean time has a foot in each camp. Yulia Tymoshenko rightly has opposed the need for a bicameral parliament and has called for a panel of experts to draft two draft version of a constitution which in trunk will be put to the people of Ukraine who will decide in a referendum which constitution to adopt. As if the people of Ukraine will be capable in deciding the complicated issues of a the details of a draft constitution let alone the of each system.
Clearly Ukraine needs to decide first and foremost Presidential or Parliamentary.
The outcome of this simple question begins to decide a host of other issues that need to be considered in depth before any agreement could be reached on the details of a constitutional framework.
Constitutional reform is not that easy to obtain agreement, as we have seen with the formation of the European Union Constitution. A referendum will only be successful if there is broad agreement and compromise. If the political spectrum is divided then the odds are against any meaningful reform being adopted. Face with a complex difficult decision the people will always vote no before yes. historically this has been the case world wide.
If Ukraine is to adopt meaningful reform any proposal needs broad consensus.
To add to the complexity of constitutional reform Yulia Tymoshcneko has proposed that politicians be left out of the Constitutional reform process. Pandering to a popular misconception keep politics out of politics. Yulia Tymoshenko’s proposal is beyond reality or belief binging into question her sincerity or level of serious responsibility.
Politicians and experts must work together to achieve a workable and acceptable document.
Yes by all means have the debate Parliamentary Democracy versus Presidential Dictatorship but do so out of sequence of the political parliamentary electoral process and do so before finalising a proposed draft of a new constitution.
The ideal time to hold a ballot on the question of Presidential or Parliament would be next year, either six prior to presidential election or held back and held in conjunction with the 2009 presidential election.
Ukraine must look to Europe, first and foremost, in helping to determine and resolve the questions of constitutional reform and not to the United States or Russia.
As it stands Ukraine looks set to having a multitude of versions and a multitude of conflicting visions for Ukraine’s democratic governance. A sure fire recipe for disaster and ongoing failure.