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Why does Ukraine need a new Constitution?
What is Constitution and why do we need it?
I’m sure that every person has his own answer to this question. Generations of philosophers and simple people were bothered by the issue of functioning of the state mechanism. Basic legislative acts of the state were results of their thoughts and reflected their worldview. For me Constitution is a passport of a state, declaration of intentions of its political elite and a “roadmap of state development”.
Why does Constitution need to be changed?
Different politicians answer differently, and often contradictorily to that. In my opinion it’s time to change the Constitution because our country has changed since it just became independent 24 years ago. By now socio-economic structure of Ukraine has been changed, people’s political views have become different etc. The country faced new challenges: separatism, ineffective ruling, old technologies, corruption. And these challenges threaten the very existence of our country. New Constitution or significant amendments to its text are to resolve these challenges.
Nation of Ukraine wants to know once for all — which our country, dreamed of by decades of generations of fighters for freedom, should be. Obviously its was difficult for our ancestors who lived in XVII or XIX centuries to explain the necessity of modern administrative and territorial bordering, or complicated mechanism of budget allocation. However they clearly understood an inadmissibility of usurpation of the power by a dictator or a group of people. That’s why progressive for that time mechanism of division of powers between Hetman, General Staff and the General Council which didn’t allow usurpation of power was added to the Constitution written by Philip Orlyk.
In my opinion text of the Constitution must correspond with basic moral and ethical principals of our nation, with the ideals of goodness, charity, humanity, with such categories as honor, dignity and diligence. However we often face a different scenario in reality.
I’d like to illustrate the way it should have been executed in a few examples.
Thus, Article 76 of the Constitution says that “a citizen of Ukraine having attained to the age of twenty-one as of the day of elections, having the right to vote, and having resided in the territory of Ukraine for the past five years, may be elected people’s deputy of Ukraine. A citizen who has a criminal record of committing an intentional crime shall not be elected to the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine if the record has not been nullified in compliance with a procedure established by law”. It’s interesting that according to the Article 70 “Citizens deemed by a court to be incompetent do not have the right to vote” on election and referendums. Circumstances for early terminated powers of people’s deputies are represented in the Article 81, such as “a court declaring him or her incompetent or missing”. Thus electors may elect formally not convicted person (however a known criminal authority) to be a people’s deputy, or a mentally ill person (but who doesn’t have a medical record). And what can we expect from such a “legislator”?
There is quite a number of people in the Verkhovna Rada and public authorities who have been priorly unemployed for a long period of time, who live in poverty (according to their income statements), however at the same time trying to rule the state bodies and resolve global issues. In order to avoid such a double standard we should think about property or professional qualifications — one can be a part of the state power mechanism in case one was able to create jobs, owns a successful business, scientific school or has a worldwide recognition as an artist. Some people still have to work hard instead of endeavoring to be a politician.
In my opinion a number of criteria for being nominated a people’s deputy ought to be much more expanded in a corresponding article of the Constitution. Electors want to be sure that the elected representatives who resolve critically important issues of the state (and amend the Constitution) are first of all patriots, fair, decent, hard-working, successful people.
Important aspect which is ought to be stated in the Constitution and which nation cares about is the issue of trust to the authorities. People need an actual but not a formal opportunity to replace all deputies and state officials (including ministers, the head of Verkhovna Rada, the president) in case they fell short of people’s hopes and trust by the means of procedures stated in the constitution (referendum, impeachment etc).
People are to define basic principles of the state policy. One of effective ways of realization of this right might be constitutional or national assembly created by democratic elections with high professional and moral filter among nationally discussed candidates. People only are to decide on autonomy or special status of separate regions are cities. People only are to change the most important statements in the Constitution, as those concerning powers of central government and a head of the state — a president.
This kind of mechanism would allow to avoid any kind of political speculations and a desire to usurp the power by separate individuals or groups of people, or randomly change the Constitution, because the Constitution is people’s property, it’s a result and a guarantee of its hopes and intentions.