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An end to MPs immunity this week?

February 3, 2015

In mid-November last year, an entry was published regarding the removal of MPs immunity and their collective inability to agree a level of non-liability if absolute inviolability was removed.  To this day, as far as is known, agreement has still not been reached.  This despite the entry listing the differences that exist amongst many European nations as a guide to what could be solutions.

However, it appears that on Thursday 5th February, RADA Speaker Groisman is to use his powers to force a vote on the removal of MPs immunity at the RADA session.  A particularly brave, or perhaps stupid, political move in the absence of any agreement upon levels of non-liability and/or inviolability.

It may very well be that the 226 votes required to pass the Bill removing immunity is achieved – but gaining that number of votes and passing the law will not be enough.

MPs immunity is enshrined in the Constitution.  The number of votes required to pass the law and have a Constitutional (changing) majority is 300 – a far greater ask when the motivation for many MPs to become MPs is absolute immunity from being held to account for their nefarious business dealings.  They certainly do not become MPs for the monthly salary shown below.

mp pay

Indeed until the last parliamentary elections, RADA MPs became MPs to enjoy absolute immunity from the law, to frustrate any legislative acts that would significantly impact their nefarious schemes, and indeed to promote their personal interests in what was seen as the most exclusive and untouchable business club in Ukraine.  There was no such thing as a poor MP.

Since 28th October 2014 and the last parliamentary elections, there are now however, a few poor MPs.

Needless to say, should the bill removing immunity pass and subsequently be signed into law without a Constitutional majority of 300 (or more) votes, those against surrendering their immunity in order to continue to act with impunity, will rightly launch a Constitutional appeal – and probably win.

As perhaps a sweetener, although more realistically and necessarily, as a way to balance the powers of the executive branches, the President has instructed MPs to draft a procedure to impeach the president and vote on it on 18th/19th February – thus no branch of the executive would retain absolute immunity.  Whether that will be enough to garner the necessary 300 votes required to effect Constitutional change remains to be seen – particularly as has been stated, most RADA MPs are currently lost within the gap between acceptable non-liability and inviolability.

Failure will compound several recent political disasters in the eyes of the public, such as the EU lifting sanctions on several Yanukovych regime members – the lifting of which was anticipated months in advance at this blog, providing sufficient time for Ukraine to do enough to prevent it.  It failed to do so.

The question is not whether Mr Groisman’s tabling of a Bill to scrap immunity will raise the 226 votes to pass, for it will – the question is of whether it will gain the 300 Constitutional majority votes in the absence of agreement upon non-liability vis a vis inviolability.

There is no question how any result, either way, will be received by the Ukrainian constituency however.

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