20 October 2016

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OpinionLast resort for hypocrites

It is rather difficult to understand who actually comprises the parliamentary majority and who, at this particular moments, pretends to be opposition in the Verkhovna Rada of the eighth convocation. In fact, this situation is one of the factors why the signatures of coalition MPs under the coalition agreement have not been made public, or why the rights of the opposition, despite vast promises, have not been extended over the past two years.

But it is also one of the factors of personal responsibility of each member of parliament for their actions. Roughly speaking, whatever the degree of importance of the bill put to the vote in the Verkhovna Rada, it’s always the deputies’ personal decision whether they should support it or not.

By the way, last summer, this was confirmed by Parliament Speaker Andriy Parubiy when he said in an interview that voting for any bill can have different configurations. He meant that the Rada decisions are like a mosaic. Today, it looks this way, tomorrow – another.

That is, any decision (let alone the that it must be, above all, be taken in the interests of voters, who have formally hired politicians to defend such interests in Parliament) is not based t on the positions of a conditional coalition or opposition, but rather taken in the interests of factions and individual MPs. As a result, the deputies take a personal stance in each vote, on one issue or another, regardless of whether the bill contradicts the election program of political forces they represent.

In fact, it’s always the deputies’ personal decision whether they should support the bill or not

But there is a certain dualism here. On the one hand, many members at their briefings and press conferences, on live TV and panel shows love to boast that, for example, they created the National Anti-Corruption Bureau, or did not allowed to push through to the budget some mega-expenditures, or studied in detail the international law to draft a cool bill on special confiscation of assets…

On the other hand, the results of roll-call vote for certain legislative initiatives, published on the website of the Verkhovna Rada, are quite depressing. One thing is denouncing opponents "on camera" and arguing their hearts off, defending their positions, but another thing is showing their position by pressing the buttons during the vote.

Instead of confirming what’s been said on the Rada sidelines, many MPs, when the voting time comes, choose to suddenly "forget" about their positions. So the roll-call voting lists are full of shameful "absent" or "has not voted" marks instead of "for", "against" or "abstained" marks, clearly indicating the positions of the people’s deputies and also giving the voters an opportunity to make them explain these positions.

Many MPs, when the voting time comes, choose to suddenly "forget" about their positions

And while it’s all simple with the absentees - they either went on a business trip or on a sick leave (with the relevant information registered in the secretariat) or skipped a meeting (did not manage to return from France’s Nice in time or visited some TV panel show, or whatever), the situation with those who just don’t vote is different.

"Has not voted" is modesty of  hypocrites. Even having at their disposal a complete set of tools to express their opinion on the bill, such deputies choose "their" own way – to find shelter, both from the decision-making and responsibility.

Tatiana Urbanskaya

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