16:35 24.10.2013

Parliament passes law that could prevent Klitschko from running for president

The UDAR faction in parliament has said it believes that the adoption of a law introducing amendments to the Tax Code of Ukraine concerning the accounting and registration of taxpayers (No. 2054A) is a provocation against faction leader Vitali Klitschko.

"Amendment No. 76 [introduced by Batkivschyna MP Ihor Brychenko] is directed against Vitali Klitschko. It's absolutely clear... that were there grounds for denial of registration," UDAR MP Viktor Chumak told reporters on Thursday.

An Interfax-Ukraine reporter said that the law supports the amendment according to which "if a person has the right to permanent residence in a foreign country, such a person is considered to be one that does not live in Ukraine."

Chumak said that the law on presidential elections has a provision stating that a citizen who "has permanently resided in Ukraine for ten years" can run for president.

"Do you see the pun? Here is the trick of this law. It's a meaningless amendment and, in my opinion, this was done to anger the parliament and our position, because it's clear that [Ukrainian President Viktor] Yanukovych doesn't want any association or European integration, and it's necessary to disrupt European integration in any way," he said.

Experts and lawyers noted the risks of Vitali Klitschko's running for president, because one of the requirements for a presidential candidate according to the constitution is living in Ukraine for the last ten years prior to voting day. It is known that Klitschko for many years lived in Ukraine and in Germany, where, according to the media, he has a residence permit. Lawyers regard the notion of "living in Ukraine" on the basis of the Cabinet of Ministers decree on the income tax of citizens and the law on citizenship of Ukraine.

According to the decree, "citizens with permanent residence in Ukraine are citizens… who live in Ukraine for at least 183 days per calendar year." According to the law on citizenship, permanent residence means residence in Ukraine for at least 180 days a year, provided that one-time travel abroad on private business does not exceed 90 days. The exceptions include a business trip, vacation, education, treatment or a change of residence in Ukraine.

According to a number of lawyers, the "residency of a candidate," i.e. where he pays taxes, could be used as a criterion of conformity with the constitutional provision about ten-year residence. According to media reports, Vitali Klitschko has publicly admitted that he pays taxes in Germany.

Experts do not rule out that Klitschko could be denied registration as a candidate before the vote or in the courts after winning an election.

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