Resolution of the Civic Assembly of Ukraine

The Civic Assembly of Ukraine, representing around 350 civic associations, is convinced that the 2007 political crisis was inevitable, given a number of political, legal, social and cultural factors.

This crisis did not begin on 31 March 2007 nor will it end with the holding of new elections on 30 September. The present crisis is not merely the failure of the constitutional amendments with their questionable legitimacy, the collapse of constitutional court proceedings, political corruption, the dissolving of parliament and early elections. These are all merely the result of a process of creating a State without firm footing in civic society and without taking into consideration the political, economic and social interests of a large percentage of the population. The crisis comes as the consequence of the inability of the political elite to formulate a clear strategy for Ukraine’s development in a competitive and rapidly globalizing world. It is a legacy of the Soviet form of Ukrainian statehood, the outcome of a failure to understand that their own interests cannot be separated from national interests, as well as of a disregard by the government of the primary importance of ensuring human rights and the rights of their citizens. These are all the roots of the present crisis which is a challenge not only to the political power structure, but to all Ukrainian society. It is in the first instance a challenge for us and the hundreds of civic organizations we represent.

The main danger of the present political crisis is the lack of rules of play shared by all citizens and observed by all politicians. At the central level of power the legal boundaries and, accordingly, the legal body of the State which is the Constitution have effectively been destroyed. Those in power have become entirely distanced from the people and power has become a commodity.

We, therefore, members of Ukraine’s Civic Assembly, aware of our responsibility before all Ukrainian citizens of the historic moment approaching with the early parliamentary elections and of the need to review Ukraine’s Constitution, affirm:

The Constitution provides the fundamental rules which are approved and observed by society and on the basis of which the nation develops. Ukraine needs a new Constitution – not a compromise from the political elite or clans, but a truly new social contract.

The new Constitution should meet the demand of citizens for the formation and development of a Ukrainian nation. It should therefore not be prepared by the President’s Secretariat, and not be adopted by the Verkhovna Rada or through a manipulative referendum, but exclusively through a Constitutional Assembly, a constituent body which will effectively found a new republic, a nation of citizens.

We demand from the President, other government figures and leading political forces:

1.  An honest, transparent and democratic election campaign on the basis of competing political programmes, and not speculative or manipulative political technology, still less tactics aimed at dividing society.

  To enable voters to assess how realistic the pre-election promises are, and whether the factions are offering detailed programmes for the country’s development, the Civic Assembly is instructing its organizing committee to carry out surveys of parties to the electoral process. They will be making a comparative analysis and informing the public of their results.

We would ask the mass media to help us in making the results widely known.

2.   The adoption of amendments to the Constitution which will allow for the calling together of a Constitutional Assembly in order to develop a new Constitution.  The delegates to this Assembly will not have the right to stand for any public office over the next 10 years, and will be therefore adopting the Main Law of the country not for themselves, or for their parties, but for the country’s citizens.

If this demand is not met, we will be initiating a referendum of direct action in accordance with Article 72 of the Constitution on amendments to Article 155 and 156 of the Constitution to enable the introduction of the Constitutional Assembly.

3.   Public debate on the concept for and on drafts of the Constitution; on the preparation of this new Constitution as a new social contract between citizens of Ukraine; on an effective model for State governance which will be capable of ensuring the successful self-development of Ukrainian society and a competitive economy

4.   Introduction of amendments to legislation which will allow for:

  • the creation of effective mechanisms for public influence and control over the authorities and their actions, as well as those of their officials, for example, by passing a new version of the Law “On civic associations”;
  •  the restoration of citizens’ right to direct participation in the elections without having to go through a particular party;
  • the introduction of a system of open regional candidate lists or the partial return of the majority electoral system (in the first instance when forming bodies of local self-government) and the abolition of party imperative mandate;
  • the creation of effective mechanisms ensuring liability of representatives of the authorities for not fulfilling or not keeping pre-election programme commitments, including stripping them of their post or mandate;
  • reform of the system of public administration, the development of a system of independent legal proceedings; safeguarding the independence of special bodies of power called upon to ensure the exercise of citizens’ rights; freedom of speech and balance between the government and opposition.

As activists from Ukrainian civic organizations we will be:

*  carrying out awareness-raising measures on a wide scale to inform the Ukrainian public about the threats before us and suggestions for overcoming them;

*  running civic lobbying campaigns to ensure that the amendments to legislation mentioned above are passed; that a Constitutional Assembly is called, and in order to create and implement a development strategy for the country;

*  seeking to increase public participation in social life and in the governance of the community, region and of the country as a whole;

*  initiating partnership between different institutions and proposing effective models for resolving local, regional and national problems, including through specific draft laws and legislative proposals;

*  monitoring the actions of the authorities and political forces;

*  defending the rights of Ukrainian citizens at all levels.

Fellow Citizens! 

It is our concern, active participation and consistency that will ensure success in raising Ukraine from this crisis and building a prosperous Ukrainian State based on the interests of civic society.

24 July 2007, Kyiv

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