MPs will begin adopting new laws closer to the New Year

MPs will begin adopting new laws closer to the New Year
Photo: Ivan Chernichkin

Today, the Verkhovna Rada will convene for its fourth session since the last elections. However, deputies are not yet ready to consider the draft laws. They decided to dedicate their working day to staff issues and addresses to Russia and the U.S.

Two weeks to prepare

Yesterday at the Coordination Council of Faction Leaders, the deputies supported the initiative of VR Speaker Volodymyr Groysman to reduce the work day until lunchtime. They also agreed to cut the session week short and reconvene on Thursday. The MPs said this decision was due to the fact that not a single draft law was ready for consideration in the session hall.

“At the moment no draft laws have been considered by the committees and the committees did not draw the corresponding conclusions. According to regulations, no conclusions can be made and tomorrow the deputies will vote for the resolutions that do not require revision of the committees,” said leader of the Petro Poroshenko Bloc faction Yuriy Lutsenko, specifying that the committees need two weeks to revise the draft laws.

Given this situation, deputies will only approve two addresses today: to Russia with a demand to release MP Nadiya Savchenko (Batkivshchyna) and to the U.S. Congress with a request to grant Ukraine the status of an ally, said Lutsenko. As a reminder, two months ago the latter request of President Petro Poroshenko was rejected.

According to information of Capital, the People’s Front (PF) faction is the initiator of the address to U.S. congressmen. “The U.S. is our key ally in the confrontation with Russia. This is why such a resolution sends out the proper signal from Ukraine to the rest of the world. Such decisions of the Ukrainian parliament are sensible from both the political and practical vantage points,” MP Ostap Semerak (PF) told Capital emphasizing that the approval of this resolution is critical.

Another geopolitical issue – the withdrawal of Ukraine from the CIS – was postponed. The draft has also not yet been approved by the corresponding committee.

Agreement reached with Lyashko

The issue of the committees was not only the reason for the absence of draft laws in the session hall. It also stirred up disputes inside the coalition. Last Thursday the deputies failed to agree with the Radical Party of Lyashko and the Opposition Bloc on the distribution of portfolios. The posts of the chairs of committees for urban planning and housing utility services, financial and banking policy and regulation remain vacant. “The coalition will submit proposals tomorrow for two vacant committees on financial issues and construction. The Regulatory Committee is still up for grabs for the Opposition Bloc, though it remains vacant at the moment,” said Lutsenko.

Despite this, he did not rule out the possibility that if the Opposition Bloc continues to refuse to head the committee over the next several weeks, a member of the coalition will be offered to chair the committee.

Meanwhile, the Opposition Bloc is not planning to agree to the proposals of the coalition. Leader of the OB faction Yuriy Boyko told Capital it will insist on chairing three committees – regulatory, human rights and freedom of speech. “We insist on our demand, because we want everything to be done by the law,” said Boyko.

Lyashko’s faction that was promised administrative positions in the financial and urban planning committees on condition that it stops demanding to head the budget committee decided to hold back on its decision. “Tomorrow, you will know everything. For now, our faction is keeping mum,” Ihor Popov (RP) told Capital. Meanwhile, at the Coordination Council Lyashko proposed to re-format the committees: “We are appealing to the parliament to recall deputies who voted for the draft laws of January 16 from their administrative positions in the committees.” Despite his efforts, he found no support among his colleagues. A source of Capital in PPB says the issue of distribution of the committees has already been settled with Lyashko.

A budget present for the New Year?

It was planned that the deputies will also review the issue of Ukraine’s neutral status. In the end, they decided to postpone it. The official reason is that this matter must be revised in detail. A source in the PPB, however, said a decision was made to not aggravate the situation before the negotiations in Minsk regarding the fate of the self-proclaimed republics of the Donbas.

On Tuesday, the MPs will also set their work agenda until the end of the year. “There is a proposal: this week is a session week, the next is work in the committees followed by another session week,” said VR Vice Speaker Andriy Parubiy.

Noteworthy, this week the deputies are planning to actively work only on Thursday on drafting the government’s work plan. After that, questions will be posed to the government for one hour on Friday. “It has not been decided yet whom the deputies will listen to. There were several proposals at the Coordination Council: the OB wants to see a Minister of Energy in the VR, while the Economic Development Group wants to see the heads of the Ministry of Finance and the NBU,” Parubiy assured.

The deputies plan to consider the draft laws after December 20. It is planned that the draft of the national budget, which the VR will again consider according to an abridged procedure, will be submitted to the session hall by that time. For now the deputies are presuming that the national budget may be adopted on December 26.

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