Maryna Stavniychuk, President Victor Yushchenko’s representative to the Constitutional Court of Ukraine and the Central Election Commission, held a press briefing on Monda, according to the President`s press-office.

Stavniychuk said plans to hold a national referendum before or during election campaigns were “political tricks” and added that such ideas were “not new for Ukraine” and had been used since 2001. 

She said special groups have to collect at least 3 million signatures in two-thirds of the country’s regions (100,000 signatures in each region) to give the president legal grounds to call a national referendum.

Stavniychuk said the Law on National and Local Referendums  was not perfect and had “many signs of unconstitutionality.” However, the Constitutional Court of Ukraine has not examined its legality yet, she added. 

She said all plans to hold a referendum were “linked to the need to improve the constitution.” She said President Yushchenko insisted that the country needs a new constitution and had even suggested establishing a constitutional council to draft it. “The Ukrainian president suggests adopting a new constitution at a national referendum.

These proposals are absolutely legal and, most importantly, constitutional,” she said and  added that the Constitutional Court of Ukraine had decided on October 5, 2005 that the people can accept or reject their new constitution at a referendum.