Ukraine's Zelensky plans to clean up parliament and military: BBC

23:00, 23 April 2019
Politics
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Halyna Yanchenko, a top official at the anti-corruption watchdog NABU, said "MPs' immunity must be consigned to the past". She spoke on Hromadske TV, BBC reports.

Aide Ivan Aparshyn said state defense orders "will be as open as possible".

Zelensky made tackling Ukraine's deep-rooted corruption a major campaign theme, though his political agenda is generally not very detailed.

Ukraine's Verkhovna Rada (parliament) plans to vote on a bill to abolish MPs' parliamentary immunity on Thursday, the Rada's deputy chairperson Iryna Gerashchenko says.

As UNIAN reported earlier, she said the bill had been checked by the Constitutional Court.

The immunity issue has been under discussion for years.

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Article 80 of Ukraine's constitution says MPs are "not legally liable for the results of voting or for statements made in parliament and in its bodies, with the exception of liability for insult or defamation.

"People's Deputies of Ukraine shall not be held criminally liable, detained or arrested without the consent of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine."

Ms Yanchenko complained that "anyone who wants to – the SBU (security service), tax authorities – can investigate economic and financial affairs".

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"We still have tax police! This must all be swept away, so that people can develop and grow the economy," she said.

Mr Zelensky also wants to hold direct talks with Russia to restore peace in Donbas. An international peace plan remains largely unfulfilled.

Ivan Aparshyn, a defense adviser in Mr Zelensky's team, told the Ukrainian news website Obozrevatel that the defense ministry budget would be made "as open to the public as possible".

Mr Aparshyn, a veteran defense ministry bureaucrat, promised criminal investigations into figures suspected of corruption in the defense sector.

He also referred to Ukraine's severe setbacks during the conflict in Donbas, notably the losses suffered in Ilovaysk, Debaltseve, and also Crimea. On that score, he said, "no one is going to hide anything from anyone".

"Officials who took decisions or did not act where it was necessary to act will be prosecuted," he said.

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