Following the recent 2019 extraordinary parliamentary elections, the presidential party “Servant of the People” gained a solid win and managed to build the majority in the Rada, single-handedly. The newly elected President, Volodymyr Zelensky, received a favourably disposed mono majority from the “Servant of the People.” Although the President had certain limited powers, he actively contributed to the formation of the first composition of the Government, also followed by the second round. Volodymyr Zelensky has been a de facto informal leader of the “Servant of the People” party. He still has a big impact on the legislative process.
In general, over 2 years of the 9th Rada operations, there were 9,582 votes. Over this period, 3,868 draft laws were registered. Of them, 480 draft laws passed. The most supported draft laws come from the President (62%), followed by the Government’s legislative initiatives (18%); the third most supported group comes from MPs (9%). In addition, draft laws initiated by the president take the fastest track in the Rada.
The group that most frequently voted “in favour” is the “Dovira” group (46.3%) and the Batkivshchyna AU faction (45.2%). “Against” – deputies from the “Holos” (5.2%) and from the “Servant of the People” (4.5%).
The leader in missed votes is Vadym Stolar from the OPFL. The MP missed 88.9% of all votes in the parliament. The most frequent speaker in the parliament is Nestor Shufrych (15 hours and 50 minutes), and his colleague from the OPFL, Natalia Korolevska, has co-authored the highest number of draft laws (271). However, as little as 2% of them were approved. The most popular draft laws for voting are those co-authored by Oksana Dmytrieva from the “Servant of the People,” the non-factional Oles Dovhyi, and Vicotria Vagner from the “Servant of the People.”
Draft Laws Initiators and the Influence from the President
Ukraine is a parliamentary-presidential republic. However, despite the fact that the President has a rather limited power, whereas the executive is chaired by the Prime Minister, in fact, Volodymyr Zelensky is a key political figure in the Ukrainian politics. He was elected at the national elections and supported by 73% of voters; his political party had a landslide victory at the parliamentary elections, and was the first to create a mono majority in the Ukrainian Parliament. He is the one (rather than the head of the government) who initiates the staff rotation in the Cabinet, as it happened in case with the Minister of the Interior, or the Minister of Health Care. Volodymyr Zelensky is an informal leader of the “Servant of the People” party who helped to pass his legislative initiatives.
Some legislative initiatives put up for review for the Verkhovna Rada of the 9th convocation in the first 2 years of its work were part of the President’s agenda. He promised to approve some of them still as a candidate; others were part of rhetoric of Volodymyr Zelensky after he won the elections. For example, group one includes a Parliament approved law on popular will through national referendum (№3612), or a law on launching the operations of the High Anti-Corruption Court (№1025). The second group includes a draft law approved in the second reading, on the oligarchs (№5599), and the law approved as a whole on the procedure to elect (appoint) members of the High Council of Justice to their positions (№5268).
In some cases, draft laws from Volodymyr Zelensky agenda were initiated other than by him, but by People’s Deputies from the “Servant of the People” faction. For example, the MPs initiated laws on introducing criminal liability for non-personal voting (№2148); on immunity of People’s Deputies (№2237); on terminating reimbursements to MPs for missing the Parliament’s plenary sessions and committee meetings for no good reasons (№1035-2); on introducing a free land market (№2178), a.o. Although they were all included in the President’s election agenda, the initiatives were submitted by other persons. The adoption of the Electoral Code shall be highlighted, too, as it was first vetoed and then adopted with account for the President’s proposals (№0978).
Key influence of Volodymyr Zelensky on the legislative process is also confirmed and supported by statistical data. The MPs support the President’s initiatives better than those coming from the government or the People’s Deputies. The support levels for the presidential initiatives is 62%, government’s initiatives rely on 18%, initiatives from MPs get 9%. Thus, of the 150 legislative initiatives suggested by the President, 93 have been adopted; of the 450 government’s initiatives, 81 ended up adopted; of the 3,268 initiatives coming from MPs, 306 cases were supported. It is certainly not the final statistics, as some initiatives are currently on different review stages. However, we can still discern certain regularities.
As far as other factions and groups, Serhiy Milko (“or the Future” group) co-authored 166 draft laws, Yaroslav Zhelezniak (“Holos”) – 163, Iryna Herashchenko (“European Solidarity”) – 136.
Their Initiatives End Up in Adoption
The highest share of adopted laws where deputies acted as authors or co-authors is attributed to Oksana Dmytrieva from the “Servant of the People” – 43.1% initiatives (28 of 65). She is followed by a non-factional deputy, Oles Dovhyi – 42.9% (12 of 28), Victoria Vagner from the “Servant of the People” – 37.9% (25 of 66), Maksym Perebyinis from the “Servant of the People” – 36.5% (23 of 63), Oleksandr Trukhin from the “Servant of the People” – 35.5% (11 of 31), Mykhaylo Radutskyi from the “Servant of the People” – 34.9% (29 of 83), Andriy Kostin from the “Servant of the People” – 33.8% (23 of 68), Olena Shuliak (39 of 116) and Rozsana Pidlasa (38 of 113) from the “Servant of the People” have 33.6%, each; Ostap Shypaylo – 33.3% (8 of 24).
Party Voting Patterns
Generally, MPs mostly pressed the “yes” button in the votes (38%). The “abstained” button was the second most popular. It accounts for 31.7% of cases. There were 14.8% of cases that the MPs were absent, they did not vote in 11.8% of cases. The least popular button for MPs is “against” – as few as 3.7% cases.
The most frequent votes in the parliament “in favour” come from the “Dovira” group (46.3%) and from the Batkivshchyna AU faction (45.2%). Deputies from the mono majority come third in terms of supporting votes. The “Holos” representatives vote “in favour” the least.
MPs from the “Holos” (5.2%), along with colleagues from the “Servant of the People” (4.5%) most often vote “against”. Deputies from the “For the Future” faction have the lowest number of “against” votes.
The abstained option is most typical for MPs from the “Holos” (40.7%) and the ES (39.6%). The least common option to abstain is typical for “OPFL” (11.2%).
The top non-voting deputies come from the OPFL (29.5%) and the “For the Future” group (25.9%). The lowest number of non-voting deputies come from the “Servant of the People” (6.3%) and the “Holos” (9.3%).
As to the deputies who missed most of the votes, they are non-factional (29.8%) and the deputies from the Batkivshchyna AU (26.3%). The lowest number of MPs missing the votes come from the “Servant of the People” (10.4%).
Leaders of Vote
The MP voting “in favour” more than others is Mykhaylo Tsymbaliuk from the Batkivshchyna AU (72%) and his colleague from the faction, Serhiy Yevtushok (68.6%). The third most active MP voting in favour is Taras Batenko from the “For the Future” (68.3%).
The “against” vote is most typical for MPs from the “Servant of the People,” Roman Kaptelov (39.7%), Ihor Nehulevskyi (31.8%), and Halyna Tretyakova (27.1%).
The “abstained” button was most often used by the recently elected Vasyl Virastiuk (61.7%) and Serhiy Mandziy (54.7%). These two MPs are members of the “Servant of the People” faction. The third top “abstaining” voter is Mykola Velychkovych (54.1%) from the ES.
The most disciplined deputy is the non-factional deputy chairperson of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, Olena Kondratiuk. She took part in 99.7% of votes. The second and the third most disciplined MPs come from the “Servant of the People,” Maryana Bezuhlova and Vladlena Nekliudova. They participated in 99.6% of all votes. Position 4 and 5 also go for MPs from the “Servant of the People” party, Oleksandr Bakumov and Oleksandr Pasichnyi. They took part in 99.5% of votes.
According to changes to the law approved by the Parliament in October, 2019, now the attendance of plenary sessions by MPs is measured by their participation in the vote. In other words, if a deputy does not vote they are not considered as present at sessions. The deputies who missed over 30% of votes are not eligible for reimbursement of costs incurred due to the performance of their deputy duties, for the respective calendar month.
The leader in the number of missed votes is Vadym Stollar from the OPFL. The MP missed 88.9% of all votes in the parliament. Second goes another MP from the OPFL, Vadym Rabinovych (86.4%). The third goes the non-factional Dmytro Shentsev who missed 75.9% of votes. They are followed by Anzhelika Labunska from the Batkivshchyna AU (72.5%) and Andriy Derkach (67%). Then go the non-factional Oleksandr Dubinskyi (66%), Oles Dovhyi (60%), and Vadym Novynskyi (59%), a deputy from the ES, Petro Poroshenko (59%), and a deputy from Batkivshchyna, Andriy Kozhemyakin. A leader in a deputy group “For the Future” is Oleksandr Hereha (49.3%); in the “Servant of the People” – Ludmyla Buymister (47.3%), in the “Holos” – Kira Rudyk (45.3%).
Over 2 years in the parliament, 383 deputies took the floor. The top speakers come from the opposition parties. They use the tribune to criticize the government’s actions. The strategy does not contradict the rules of procedure. MPs can use public speeches to deliver their positions to other MPs, to express proposals or disagreement on issues considered in the parliament, etc.
An MP who spoke the most, talked for 16 hours in total. He is Nestor Shufrych, a member of the “Opposition Platform – For Life.” The politician spoke for the total of 15 hours and 50 minutes. The second top speaker is another OPFL deputy, Oleksandr Koltunovych. The total duration of his speeches is 10 hours and 27 minutes. Third and fourth come the MPs from the Batkivshchyna AU, Vadym Ivchenko and Serhiy Vlasenko. The former spoke for 8 hours and 59 minutes, the latter – for 8 hours and 34 minutes. Fifth comes an MP from the “European Solidarity,” Nina Yuzhanina. The opposition deputy spoke for 8 hours and 15 minutes.
Among the MPs who spoke in public, Volodymyr Ivanov (“Servant of the People”) spoke the least – 3 seconds, as well as Vitaliy Danilov (“Batkivshchyna”), Volodymyr Kreydenko (“Servant of the People”), and Mykola Kyrychenko (“Servant of the People”) – 4 seconds for each. In all cases, they passed the floor to their colleagues.
In terms of factions, the top speakers in the Rada came from the “Servant of the People” and the OPFL. These political forces have the most numerous representations in the parliament. Next follow the factions of the Batkivshchyna AU, “European Solidarity,” and the “Holos,” as well as from the “Dovira” and “For the Future.” The least represented group in this regard is the non-factional MPs.