KYIV, Ukraine, February 22, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych may have effectively launched the constitutional reform process by signing the Decree "On Supporting the Initiative to Establish the Constitutional Assembly," as reported by the Press office of the president. First Ukrainian President Leonid Kravchuk (1991-1994) will supervise the working group of scientific experts to establish the Constitutional Assembly that will work on the wording of the new Constitution of Ukraine and become an advisory body to the president.
"Ukraine has not seen systemic reforms in 20 years of its independence, which we celebrate this year," said Yanukovych reminding that the reforms should be consistent, comprehensive and bear systematic approach.
It is planned that the new draft of the constitution prepared by the Assembly in a form of a presidential bill would have to be considered by the Ukrainian parliament (VerkhovnaRada) after the elections in 2012.
The Constitutional Assembly will be closely working with the European Commission for Democracy through Law, better known as the Venice Commission - the Council of Europe's advisory body on constitutional matters and internationally recognized independent legal think-tank.
The Constitutional process has never been a smooth one throughout Ukrainian history. The initial version of 1996 Constitution was approved after five years of a vibrant nation-wide discussion. The amendments of the 2004 Constitution have been adopted amidst a deep political crisis and were aimed at achieving a political compromise between the two rivaling camps making Ukraine the parliamentary-presidential republic. Last October the Supreme Court ruled to repeal the 2004 amendments reestablishing the presidential parliamentary republic according to the initial version of the Constitution adopted in 1996 and increasing the Presidential powers.
Such initiative has been previously commented on by a number of European leaders and legislative experts including Stefan Fuele, who was pleased to hear that President Yanukovych intended to start a constitutional reform process taking into account the expertise and advice of the Venice Commission, and professor Sergio Bartole, member of the Venice commission, who confirmed the commission's heavy criticism against the 2004 amendments. One of the major drawbacks of the 2004 procedures was the fact that the amendments changing the political system in the country had to be voted on a referendum, which was not the case back then.
SOURCE Worldwide News Ukraine