Ukraine parliament approves impeachment legislation

11 September 2019

Ukraine’s parliament approved on Sept. 10 two readings of legislation submitted by President Zelensky to establish an impeachment procedure. The measure drew 337 votes in the first reading, losing support in the second reading after Parliamentary Speaker Dmytro Razumkov ignored requests to review the bill, submit amendments and hold the vote at the next session. The second reading drew 245 votes in total, drawing opposition from a diverse coalition consisting of the pro-Putin Opposition Platform For Life party, the European Solidarity party and the neoliberal Voice party. “You very grossly violated the rules,” said Iryna Herashchenko, an MP who served as the previous first deputy speaker. “You simply are demeaning the very role of parliament. You have crossed out the right of every MP to submit amendments. If you will continue to vote this way today, then parliament simply doesn’t exist.”

 

Other critics of the legislation, such as MP Serhiy Rakhmanin of the Voice faction, have argued a constitutional amendment is needed for the procedure to be serious. The legislation calls for impeachment of the president “exclusively in the event of him committing state treason or another crime.” The basis for initiating impeachment is a written appeal signed by a majority of MPs, including the legal justification for creating a special temporary investigative committee, the pravda.com.ua news site reported. After the president is accused, the Constitutional and Supreme Courts must confirm the constitutionality of the impeachment attempt and availability of evidence of a crime. An impeachment vote requires the support of three-quarters of MPs. The impeachment process is halted both in the legislature and in the courts should the president voluntarily resign.

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