President urges NCPD to focus attention on reforming Ukraine’s constitution

17:28, 16 October 2007
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National Commission for the Promotion of Democracy held session today

President Victor Yushchenko chaired a session of the National Commission for the Promotion of Democracy and the Rule of Law on Tuesday, urging its members to focus their attention on reforming Ukraine’s constitution, judiciary and criminal justice, according to the President`s press-office.

In his speech, Yushchenko described last month’s snap parliamentary election as an “important stage in the promotion of democracy in Ukraine.” He said the country’s previous parliament had impeded its democratic progress and added that there was no time to be lost, calling on the commission to be impartial and work professionally to tackle the challenges facing Ukraine today.

The president said it was impossible to implement economic, social and humanitarian policies without achieving political stability. “We must set clear rules in the highest echelons of government first,” he said, stressing the need to ensure that no individual or political force can usurp power.

Yushchenko said Ukraine’s 2004 constitutional reform was “hasty and inadequate” and called for restoring checks and balances to guarantee “freedom and democracy.” He reiterated his intention to call a national referendum to adopt a new constitution in 2008.

He then urged the commission to formulate a plan for introducing judicial reforms, propose a criminal code and a code of criminal proceedings and said it was important to "humanize" the country’s penitentiary system.

Yushchenko suggested that the commission hold its sessions quarterly.

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