The Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine's parliament, convened on Tuesday for the sake of voting on a single bill recently vetoed by president – this time, with the Volodymyr Zelensky's amendments.
This is about Bill "On amendments to certain laws of Ukraine regarding the resumption of competitions for holding civil service positions and other civil service issues" (No. 4531).
Read alsoEnergy ministry: Ukraine seeking to quit coal to become climate neutral by 2050Some 267 MPs out of 350 registered in the session hall backed the new version with the president's changes, an UNIAN correspondent reported.
According to the president's amendments, Law of Ukraine "On central executive bodies" stipulates the first deputy minister, deputy ministers give instructions that are binding on civil servants and the ministry's staff and its territorial bodies (if formed).
What has been removed, as per proposals
The final version excludes the ban on entrusting a first deputy minister and deputy ministers a wider range of minister's duties if the top post is vacant.
The provision has been lifted which said that, if a minister's post remains vacant for more than 60 days, it is prohibited to entrust a first deputy minister and deputy ministers with a number of minister's duties.
In contrast to the previous draft, vetoed by President Zelensky, a person whose candidacy for the relevant ministerial post has been rejected by the Verkhovna Rada can now be allowed to perform the minister's duties (as acting minister)
Competitions for civil servants
Among other things, the Law of Ukraine "On civil service" stipulates the Commission for the Higher Corps of the Civil Service holds a competition for the positions of the civil service of category "A" and submits proposals on appointment of no more than three candidates for such positions (previously no more than five people).
The bill also establishes that competitions for positions held by persons with whom, prior to the entry into force of this bill, contracts have been concluded on the civil service for the period of quarantine established by the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in Ukraine, is announced within six months from the date of entry into force of this bill in accordance with the conclusion of contracts for the relevant civil service positions.
Civil service contracts for the period of quarantine concluded before the entry into force of this bill are valid until the appointment of a person to the civil service position based on the results of a competition, but no more than nine months from the date of entry into force of this bill.
At the same time, the announced selections for appointment to a vacant civil service position for the period of quarantine, the decisions on the results of which were made public, are canceled.
A special check established by Article 56 of the Law of Ukraine "On the prevention of corruption" is not carried out in relation to persons appointed to civil service positions or in local governments no later than the next working day after the termination of the contract on their civil service for the period of quarantine, provided that a special check of such persons has already been carried out at the conclusion of the relevant agreement.
Civil servants enrolled in the staff in accordance with Part 1 of Article 87-1 of the Law of Ukraine "On civil service" prior to the entry into force of this bill continue to be in the civil service. The maximum period for such stay is six months from the date of dismissal from office.
Competitions for civil servants: Other details
According to the bill, within six months from the date of its entry into force, competitions shall be announced for positions held by persons under a civil service contract for the period of quarantine established by the government over the COVID-19 pandemic.
The relevant contracts will be valid until a person is appointed to the civil service position based on the results of a competition, but no more than nine months from the date this bill comes into force.
If the post of minister is vacant for more than 60 days, the same person holding the post of first deputy minister or deputy minister cannot serve as minister for more than 30 days.
The bill comes into force on the day following the day of its publication.
Yuriy Vitrenko's nomination for energy minister: Background
On December 17, the Verkhovna Rada did not support the appointment of the former top manager of Naftogaz of Ukraine, Yuriy Vitrenko, as first vice prime minister, minister of energy. A total of 186 lawmakers backed his nomination, with the required minimum of 226 votes.
On December 21, the government appointed Vitrenko acting energy minister.
December 22, Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada Dmytro Razumkov said in an interview with a Ukrainian TV channel that the appointment of Vitrenko as acting energy minister, bypassing parliament vote, would not facilitate cooperation with the government.
On January 28, parliament once again snubbed Vitrenko's candidacy.
On February 4, the Verkhovna Rada rejected a bill that would prohibit renominating the same candidate for a certain position in government during one Parliament session.
Through an amendment to the draft law, introduced by First Deputy Chairman of the ruling faction, Oleksandr Kornienko, it was proposed to allow an acting minister to remain at the helm for 90 days instead of the current 30 days. The draft, however, was sent for revision after failing to pass Parliament.
On February 15, Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada Committee on Finance, Tax and Customs Policy, MP with ruling Servant of the People faction Danylo Getmantsev said Vitrenko could once again be nominated to the post of energy minister.
On February 16, the parliament passed a bill on the restoration of competitions for the civil service (No. 4531), the next day it was signed by Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada Dmytro Razumkov. On February 18, it was returned with the president's proposals.