The Ukrainian parliament decided upon the date of the next general and parliamentary elections yesterday. Especially the date of parliamentary elections, however, is likely to be contested before Ukraine’s constitutional court.
Ukraine’s Verkhovna Rada passed the new election dates – October 2012 for parliamentary and March 2015 for presidential elections – by the ways of a constitutional amendment with a majority of 310 of 450 deputies. The amendments are not uncontroversial: Only last year the Ukrainian constitutional court declared the 2004/2005 amendments of the constitution unconstitutional which according to some politicians of the opposition and legal experts necessitates early parliamentary elections. Furthermore, the Central Electoral Commission has filed a request to interpret the constitution with regard to the powers of the current parliament. However, proceedings in the latter case have not been opened yet.
In an interview with the Polish daily “Gazeta Wyborcza” President Viktor Yanukovych declared that he was very optimistic that the Constitutional Court would approve the amendments – calling it “a pure formality”. He also mentioned that the court might now refuse to open proceedings for the Electoral Commission’s request as the paragraphs concerned had been amended. In the same interview, he guaranteed that the next parliamentary elections would be free and democratic and that Ukraine would continue “its path of freedom and pluralism.”