Rada passes bill on lifting deputy immunity at first reading
Ukraine's parliament have adopted in the first reading a bill on changing Article 80 of Ukraine's Constitution, proposing to lift immunity from members of parliament.
Some 363 MPs voted for the bill, one abstained, none voted against.
Ex-President and leader of the European Solidarity Party faction Petro Poroshenko said he urged members of his faction to vote in favor of the measure, because they have nothing to fear from the bill.
"The European Solidary faction supported this bill at its first reading because they, like me, the fifth president of Ukraine, have nothing to fear. We acted in accordance with the law. And our presence in parliament shows the country is moving towards the European Union and NATO. That means everyone is equal before the law!" Poroshenko said in the chamber.
As reported, law No. 7203 was introduced in the Rada of the 8th convocation by Poroshenko.
In June 2018, the Constitutional Court of Ukraine (CC) issued a conclusion regarding the compliance of this initiative with the requirements of Article 157 and Article 158 of the Basic Law.
After receiving the conclusion of CC, parliament may preliminary approve (adopt at the first reading) such a bill with at least 226 votes. After that, at the next regular session, the Rada may consider it for adoption as a whole. This will require at least 300 votes of MPs. This procedure is established by the Constitution of Ukraine.
The bill proposes to exclude from article 80 of the Constitution the provision that deputies cannot be prosecuted, detained or arrested without the consent of parliament, and that they are guaranteed parliamentary immunity.
If constitutional amendments are approved as a whole in this article, only one rule will remain, that MPs of Ukraine do not bear legal responsibility for the results of voting or statements in parliament and its bodies, with the exception of liability for insult or slander.
It is envisaged that the law will enter into force on January 1, 2020.
The 8th convocation of the Verkhovna Rada did not consider these constitutional changes, referring to the fact that in its conclusion the Constitutional Court drew attention to the fact that, in deciding to abolish parliamentary immunity, it is necessary to take into account the ability of the political and legal system of Ukraine in the absence of the institution of parliamentary immunity unimpeded and effective exercise by MPs of their powers and the functioning of the parliament.
Servant of the People Party leader Ruslan Stefanchuk, on the eve of assuming the powers of the Verkhovna Rada of the 9th convocation, said there are no comments in the resolution part of the Constitutional Court's conclusion to the bill, so there are no obstacles to its consideration.
"On [August] 29th, I think, we will hold the first vote. And in early September we will try to do what Ukraine could not do in 28 years," Stefanchuk said.