Tuesday, February 12, 2013

'Semya' using courts to break parliament's back, says Poroshenko*

'Kyiv Post' reports : "  In an unprecedented move, on Feb. 8, the High Administrative Court of Ukraine cancelled election results in two majority constituencies, stripping deputies of their mandates and immunity from prosecution, and ordered a re-election.

The deputies, and some opposition members, say the move is the government's retaliation in response to their independent stance in the Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine's legislature.

The court on Feb. 8 cancelled election results in constituency 11 in Vinnytsia and 71 in Zakarpattya Oblast, Interfax Ukraine agency reported. Deputies Oleksandr Dombrovsky and Pavlo Baloga lost their status in parliament as a result. The resolution cannot be appealed.

Pavlo Baloga is the brother of a former Emergencies Minister Viktor Baloga. He quit the pro-presidential Party of Regions faction on Dec. 13. Oleksandr Dombrovskiy has remained non-affiliated after the election. Results in Dombrovskiy's constituency were disputed after the Oct. 28 vote, but the Central Election Commission [CEC] ruled to recognize his victory..."

Most experts agree that once a parliamentary deputy has had his victory approved by the CEC and has been sworn into office, as these two had, they can only leave parliament in two ways, either feet first, or by resignation. In other words the  High Administrative Court has crudely and cynically exceeded its authority.

It is  yet another example of how Ukraine's courts have become a tool in the hands of the country's current rulers utilised to demonstrate their unchallengeable power. The courts have, of course, been used to eliminate president Yanukovych's deadliest enemies, Yulia Tymoshenko and Yuriy Lutsenko by  what have been widely considered to be politically motivated legal trials.

Immediately after last autumn's parliamentary elections opposition parties challenged what they considered to be fixed results in many constituencies nationwide in Ukraine's courts. Virtually all their submissions were brusquely declined.

Dobrovsky is an associate of Petro Poroshenko.  Both Poroshenko, and Viktor Baloha are Ukrainian political heavyweights, very powerful in their respective home oblasts, and have held high office both in Orange and Blue and White adminstrations . Poroshenko has high ambitions - he may stand for election in the Kyiv city elections, which he most likely would win. This could provide a platform for the 2015 presidential election campaign.

Even though Pavlo Baloha's and Dobrovsky's recent electoral victories over opposition rivals were highly dubious, both they, and their political sponsors, had been drifting toward the opposition lately.

The ruling authorities ordered the High Administrative Court decision to demonstrate to non affiliated parliamentarians - either obey us...or you will get the chop. The ruling authorities gambled that the parliamentary opposition would not support the two dismissed deputies...but is seems they have miscalculated..

Some observers suggest that 'Semya' loyalists have now gained the upper hand amongst the PoR parliamentary faction. These loyalists are more concerned with obtaining a totally compliant parliament as quickly as possible by squeezing a few judges' balls, than adhering to the Constitution or any rules of parliament.


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