Ukrainian MPs gathered on 17 plenary meetings this fall: 10 times in September, once in October, and six times in November. During this period, the Parliament has registered 501 draft laws, held 490 votes, and 88 deputies missed more than 30% of the votes. The State Budget and ways to resolve the constitutional crisis were the most discussed topics. Besides that, the Parliament declared elections in Belarus undemocratic, and leaders of all factions united against the spread of COVID-19.
Civil Network OPORA has analyzed the work of the Ukrainian Parliament over three months.
In autumn 2020, the Parliament of IX convocation has registered 501 draft laws. MPs have submitted the largest number of initiatives - 83% (416 draft laws), the Cabinet of Ministers registered 14.2% (71), and the President has submitted 2.8% (14). The vast majority of them concern economic (31.5%) and legal (24.4%) policies, as well as sectoral development (17.6%).
Presidential initiatives have the highest level of support (93%), followed by legislative initiatives of the Government (13%), and MPs on the third place (10%). Similar trends are present in the current convocation of the Parliament. Thus, initiatives of the President receive the most extensive support and initiatives of MPs - the smallest.
Hot parliamentary topics
In November, the Parliament focused on discussing the State Budget and ways out of the constitutional crisis. On November 5, the Verkhovna Rada adopted in the first reading the draft law on the State Budget for 2021. 275 MPs voted for this Law. According to this document, the State Budget revenues are projected at UAH 1 trillion 71.1 billion. Expenditures will amount to UAH 1 trillion 350 billion. The budget deficit is UAH 270 billion.
As for the constitutional crisis, several draft laws have appeared in the Parliament in response to the abolition of electronic declaration, addressing this issue. For example, the President of Ukraine prepared a draft law #4288 on Restoration of Public Confidence in the Constitutional Judiciary. A group of MPs led by the Speaker prepared own bill #4304 on the Resumption of Some Provisions of the Law of Ukraine on Prevention of Corruption and the Criminal Code of Ukraine. A working group headed by the Chairman of the Committee on Law Enforcement Denys Monastyrskyi prepared a draft law #4441 on Amendments to Some Legislative Acts of Ukraine Concerning the Restoration of Liability for Declaring False Information and Non-Submission of Declaration.
The presidential draft law (#4288) suggests terminating the powers of the Constitutional Court. Dmytro Razumkov's draft law (#4304) proposes restoring the NAPC's right to verify electronic declarations. Dmytro Monastyrskyi suggests in his draft law (#4441) to restore the responsibility for the declaration of inaccurate information and non-submission of declarations and increase the criminal liability threshold for such actions.
Besides that, several draft laws are being considered in the Parliament, which suggest amending the Law on the Constitutional Court of Ukraine (#4311, #4311-1, #4311-2, #4319, #4317, #4339). Basically, these bills propose either to increase a quorum for the consideration of proceedings or to increase the minimum of judge votes required to make a decision.
For example, draft law #4311 suggests amending Article 10 of the Law on the Constitutional Court to increase the court quorum to 17 persons. Thus, amendments establish a minimum of 17 judges of the Constitutional Court to make a decision. The current wording requires a quorum of 12 judges. Another draft law #4319 proposes increasing the minimum of votes from 10 to 12 for the Constitutional Court's decision.
In October, the Verkhovna Rada almost did not work due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The only plenary session this month took place on October 20. The President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyi, delivered to the Parliament his message on Ukraine's internal and external situation. Also, the Parliament approved the Resolution on Measures to Prevent the Spread of Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) and protect all vital systems of the country from adverse effects of the pandemic and new biological threats. Leaders of all parliamentary factions and groups participated in its development. As a result, 293 MPs supported the document.
In September, the Parliament passed a resolution recognizing that the Belarus presidential election was not free and fair and condemned the use of force and brutality by Belarusian law enforcement bodies. The Verkhovna Rada also adopted the draft law #3087-d in the first reading, which concerns the Bureau of Economic Security. 245 MPs voted for it.
In September, the Verkhovna Rada considered for the first time an e-petition on the formation of a Temporary Commission of Inquiry, which gathered 25,705 signatures. The Commission's goal would be to investigate possible treason in operation involving the evacuation of Russian mercenaries and fighters of the Wagner private military company involved in the downing of Ukrainian military planes.
Over three autumn months, the Parliament had 490 votings, and MPs pressed the "Rada" system button 205 thousand times. MPs voted "for" the most often (55.6% of the total number of button presses). MPs "abstained" in 14.5% of cases, voted "against" in 1.8%. In 17.5% of cases, MPs were absent, and in 10.6% - they did not vote (i.e., actually ignored the vote).
The number of votes "for" has increased in autumn, compared to our previous report. Besides that, MPs began to "abstain" less from voting and vote "against".
How factions voted
MPs from the Servant of the People faction have the largest percentage of "for" votes (70.1%) in autumn, the Dovira group of MPs took the second place (55.9%), and the Holos is on the third (44.1%). The For the Future group has the smallest percentage of "for" votes, 26.9%.
MPs from the Holos (6.3%) and the Opposition Platform - For Life (4.5%) voted "against" the most often. MPs from the European Solidarity faction most often press the "abstain" button when voting (36% of cases). MPs from the Holos faction took second place by this indicator (26.9%). The For the Future group of MPs has the smallest percentage of "against" votes (0.8%).
Members of the Batkivshchyna faction missed sittings the most often (29.4%). Representatives of the Opposition Platform for Life (36.7%) and the For the Future group ignored the vote the most often.
If we compare these Parliament's results and results for a year, which OPORA prepared at the end of July 2020, the voting trends have not changed much in general, but there are some differences. For example, the Batkivshchyna faction, which voted "for" the most often during its first year in the Parliament, has now ranked 5th among all seven parliamentary factions and groups. The Holos faction cast the majority of "against" votes this autumn. The leader by this indicator in the previous reporting period was the Opposition Platform - For Life. Besides that, the European Solidarity pushed the Holos out of the lead by the number of "abstain" votes.
Voting against the faction line
Oleksandr Dubinskyi from the Servant of the People follows the faction line the least often in the current Parliament. Thus, his choice differs from the party line in 77.3% of votes.
Ihor Abramovych is the one who votes contrary to the party line the most often in the Opposition Platform - For Life. His "rebellion" percentage reaches almost 62.7%.
Petro Poroshenko follows the party line the least often among MPs of the European Solidarity. His votes against the party line reach 60.8%.
In the For the Future group of MPs, Viktor Baloha votes on his own the most often. Thus, he voted contrary to the party line in 50.1% of cases.
Hennadii Vatsak is the rebellion in the Dovira group of MPs. In 41.6% of cases, he voted against the position of the group.
In the Holos faction, Yaroslav Rushchyshyn votes contrary to the party line the most often. The deputy has 31.8% of such votes.
In the Batkivshchyna faction, Serhii Taruta votes contrary to the party's line the most often and has 28% of such votes.
In autumn, 88 MPs missed more than 30% of votes 41 of them are representatives of the Servant of the People faction, 11 - Opposition Platform - For Life, 9 - Batkivshchyna and non-faction, 9 - For the Future group of MPs, 5 - Holos faction, 3 - European Solidarity, 2 - Dovira group of MPs.
MP Vitalii Danilov (Batkivshchyna) missed the highest number of votes - 100%. Andrii Derkach (non-faction) and Vadym Stoliar (Opposition Platform - For Life) did not attend 96.1% and 94.3% of the votes, respectively.
According to law amendments approved in October 2019, MPs' attendance on plenary sessions will now reflect their voting participation. That is, if an MP does not vote, then he is not present at the session. The MPs who miss more than 30% of the votes shall not get reimbursement for the expenses related to their parliamentary duties for the respective calendar month. The Committee on the Rules of Parliamentary Ethics and Organization of Work is going to take such a decision regarding MPs. This amount is equal to the monthly salary of an MP and is not subject to taxation.
According to the Resolution on Financial Support of Members of Parliament of Ukraine, the base salary of an MP fluctuates from 10 to 12 subsistence minimums (from UAH 20,270 to 24,324 in 2020). Besides the base salary, MPs also receive allowances and surcharges (for MPs who have a scientific degree or honorary title).
In autumn, 216 MPs spoke in the Parliament. One hundred of them are members of the Servant of the People; 24 represent European Solidarity, 23 - Opposition Platform - For Life; 19 - AUU Batkivshchyna; 18 - Holos; 15 - For the Future Party group of MPs; 13 - Dovira group of MPs. Four MPs who spoke in the Parliament in the fall are not members of any faction.
MPs who spoke the most actively to the Parliament are as follows: Nestor Shufrych (Opposition Platform - For Life) — 1 hour 19 minutes (53 speeches), Nina Yuzhanina (European Solidarity) — 52 minutes, Serhii Soboliev (AUU Batkivshchyna) — 47 minutes, Taras Batenko (For the Future Party group of MPs) — 43 minutes, Oleksii Honcharenko (European Solidarity) — 41 minutes, Mykhailo Tsymbaliuk (AUU Batkivshchyna) — 40 minutes, Danylo Hetmantsev (Servant of the People) — 38 minutes, Oleksandr Koltunovych(European Solidarity) — 37 minutes, Yaroslav Zhelezniak(Holos) — 32 minutes, Anton Poliakov (For the Future Party group of MPs) — 30 minutes.