Ukraine: New Government Confirmed, Constitutional Challenge Ahead

by Tammy Lynch

It’s official. Ukraine’s parliament on Thursday morning announced that a majority coalition had been created. The coalition consists of President Viktor Yanukovych’s Party of Regions, Parliamentary Speaker Volodymyr Lytvyn’s eponymous bloc, and the Communist Party.

However, because these groups fall seven votes short of a majority, they also included individual deputies from the two remaining blocs in their coalition for a total of 235 members.

As discussed in Wednesday’s blog below (Troubling Signs in Ukraine as New President Flouts Constitution), this procedure for creating a majority coalition violates Article 83 of Ukraine’s constitution.

Yanukovych, Lytvyn and their allies did not appear concerned with the potential constitutional questions surrounding their move, however, as they then confirmed Mykola Azarov as Prime Minister with 242 votes.

Both the Our Ukraine-People’s Self Defense Bloc and the Bloc of [now former PM] Yulia Tymoshenko stated they will challenge the coalition’s formation in the Constitutional Court.

In 2008, the Court gave its official interpretation of Article 83, which states that a coalition is created only through “a coalition of parliamentary factions.”

The justices wrote:

Thus, members of the coalition of deputy factions may be only those People’s Deputies of Ukraine who are members of deputy factions that formed the coalition. Affiliation of People’s Deputies of Ukraine with a respective faction plays a decisive role of deputy factions in the process of formation of the coalition of deputy factions. Namely, pursuant to Article 83.10 of the Constitution, a deputy faction which members constitute the majority of the constitutional composition of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine has the rights of a coalition of deputy factions in the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine.

Will they say the same thing this year?