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Press Release

Presidential Decree on All-Ukrainian Referendum

February 24, 2000

The presidential election in Ukraine showed that, by confirming the program of Leonid Kuchma, the Ukrainian people expressed their support for democratic and economic reforms in Ukraine. The implementation of the President's program requires close interaction between the executive and legislative branches of power, providing necessary legal and institutional framework. At the same time, a considerable number of Ukrainian voters are frustrated with the slow pace of economic transformation, associated with the inability of the Verkhovna Rada to work effectively on relevant legislation.

Resorting to their right to direct execution of power, the Ukrainian people have petitioned the President of Ukraine to conduct a referendum on the six issues enumerated in the document signed by more than four million of Ukrainian voters.

As a result, on January 15, 2000 the President of Ukraine issued Decree # 65/2000 on the All-Ukrainian referendum.

In the course of the referendum, the voters will be asked to decide if they have confidence in the 14th Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine. It is further suggested to introduce an amendment to Article 90 part 2 of the Constitution that would give the President the right to dissolve the Verkhovna Rada on the basis of a vote of no confidence. The voters will also have to agree or disagree with other amendments to Articles 76, 80, 90, and 106 of the Constitution that would give the President the right to dissolve the parliament if it failed to form a majority during one-month period or did not approve a budget in a three-month period. They are also expected to express opinion on the need to introduce a two-chamber parliament, curb the immunity of the People's Deputies from criminal prosecution and to make possible adoption of the Constitution through referendum.

According to Article 69 of the Constitution of Ukraine people's will shall be executed through elections, referendums and other immediate forms of democracy. According to Part 11, Article 72 of the Constitution of Ukraine, an all-Ukrainian referendum shall be conducted upon the people's initiative, with no less than three million voters of Ukraine calling for it, and under the condition that signatures in support of a referendum are collected in no less than two-thirds of the oblasts, with no less than 100,000 signatures collected in each of the oblasts. As to the issues that can be proposed for the referendum, according to Article 74 of the Constitution of Ukraine no referendum can be held on the questions concerning taxes, budget issues and amnesties. The issues proposed for the referendum touch upon the relations between the Parliament and the President of Ukraine as well as questions pertaining to the improvement in the work of the legislative body of state. In this way, there are no issues conflicting with Article 74 of the Constitution of Ukraine among those brought up for the referendum.

Part VI, Article 106 of the Constitution of Ukraine states that the President of Ukraine has the right to call an all-Ukrainian referendum upon the people's request. Signatures collected for a referendum is a demand, with which the President of Ukraine must comply as a head of state and a guarantor of the Constitution of Ukraine, as well as human rights and liberties of its citizens.

For more information, please contact:
Taras Malyshevskyi, Press Secretary of the Embassy of Ukraine
310 Somerset Street West, Ottawa, ON K2P 0J9
Tel. (613) 230-2961, fax (613) 230-2400,