Kyiv, March 14, 2016. Reforms experts released their roadmap to overcome governmental and parliamentary crisis in Ukraine. The main proposal lies in forming a technical government based on professional criteria, and not political, said Yevhen Bystrytskyi, executive director at the International Renaissance Foundation (IRF), during discussion at Ukraine Crisis Media Center. “Government shall be appointed by the parliament; this includes competitive basis. The parliament preserves absolute possibility to control the government’s actions, monitor its activity and, the most important, jointly with the government, which did not sufficiently happen before – develop public policies to overcome crisis and public policies to continue reforms […]. Choosing this very scenario is the only possible way to overcome this governmental and parliamentary crisis,” emphasized Bystrytskyi. According to IRF executive director, what we observe at present are only backroom dealing regarding overcoming the crisis. One of the ideas on holding premature parliamentary elections, in experts’ opinion, contains a number of risks. For instance, there is a threat of stagnation of reforms, threat of default, threat of intense depreciation,” argued Bystrytskyi. Moreover, the country would face a risk of loss of Ukraine’s international standing, especially in the eyes of western partners helping Ukraine to overcome the results of Russian aggression, said the IRF representative.
A number of strategic conditions must be fulfilled already on the stage of technical government formation, said Victor Tymoshchuk, deputy chairman of the Centre of Political and Legal Reforms. “Those appointed as members of the government should be ready to introduce practical steps on reforming the country within the sphere of their responsibility from day one, for the new government officials will have no time for learning and capturing the state of affairs in the system. They must hit the ground running,” said the expert. According to him, offices of vice prime ministers for administrative reform and European integration must be introduced in the Cabinet of Ministers. Moreover, cutting down positions of the minister of information policy and minister of the Cabinet of Ministers has been proposed. Government and business must be separated. It is important to have several candidates for each position with their own programs they will present to political forces and the general public before the government is approved. Ideally, said Tymoshchuk, a change in legislative field must take place prior to the government formation, amending the law on the Cabinet of Minister and central executive authorities. For instance, ministries must concentrate exclusively on forming policies, they must be deprived of all the current administrative functions and ministers have to form their teams in the ministry independently. This means it must be the minister to select candidates for his deputies, explained deputy chairman of the Centre of Political and Legal Reforms. Moreover, added Tymoshchuk, ministry officials must receive respectable salaries. “Simple securing of implementation of the new law on public service is the most essential in the system of the state government reform,” emphasized Tymoshchuk.
Corruption prevention activities must be the main task for the technical government at this stage, said Hlib Vyshlinskyi, executive director at the Center for Economic Strategies. “We name both privatization and the reform of state property administration as the first priorities for a technocratic government, as these spheres are the main sources of political corruption in Ukraine,” stated the expert. According to him, anything of strategic value must be privatized, and it is important to render political influence on the administration of state and communal enterprises impossible within the framework of the state property administration reform. Moreover, it is necessary to reduce the role of the state in redistribution of revenues, launch a program of comprehensive examination of state expenses, continue public procurement reform, verify social benefits payment and introduce full-scale checkup of property status of welfare recipients. Fiscal reform must be finalized, bottlenecks in investment climate must be removed and business environment improved, said Vyshlinskyi.
The society must take the affairs in their hands today, like it did during the Revolution of Dignity and at the beginning of the Russian aggression, said Iryna Bekeshkina, director of Ilko Kucheriv Democratic Initiatives Foundation. “Now is the turning point, when the society itself, its active part, new Ukraine which spoke loudly and became evident at Maidan, must unite and push Ukraine towards the European integration. In practice it means implementing the reforms which must be introduced,” said Bekeshkina. The sociologist mentioned corruption as the main problem in the country. According to Bekeshkina, the fate of the law on online custom filing will show how functional is the present parliament and whether it is ready to implement reforms.
Victor Taran, executive director of the Center for Political Studies and Analytics, said that this year it is important to concentrate on implementation of the laws passed the year before. For instance, the National Anti-Corruption Bureau (NACB), the National Agency for Preventing Corruption (NAPC) and the Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecution must start functioning fully. Moreover, the law on state funding of political parties must come into effect. He said it is important to adopt the draft law on online custom filing on March 15-16 and form NAPC. In this case “we have good chances we will be returned to ‘Georgian package’, so we will be able to go to European Union without visas in summer,” explained Taran. “At present these are leaders of five deputies’ factions that bear responsibility for adoption the law, that is, visa-free regime in part of online custom filing,” emphasized the expert.
Mykhailo Zhernakov, expert of the Judicial Reform group, Reanimation Package of Reforms, member of the RPR Council believes there is an in-depth institutional problem, which means the rules for formation and activity of the Cabinet of Ministers are set, but they do not allow working properly. Decisions are made behind the closed doors. “We emphasize it is impossible to speak of any reforms without the new law on elections, the new law on the Cabinet of Ministers and proper implementation of the law on the state service,” explained Zhernakov. Moreover, the RPR exert believes that changes to Constitution in part of judicial administration cannot be introduced without the package of draft laws elaborating the time and details of not only providing the judicial authority with utmost independence, but securing its full-fledged reform, said Zhernakov.
Oleksandr Sushko, chairman of the IRF board, said that from the donor’s support viewpoint, political uncertainty slows down the support of reforms. “We are facing a challenge, because we can’t automatically support these or those sectors without confirmed request from the government,” explained Sushko. According to him, there is a threat or even the facts of ‘slacking’ in certain sectors due to the lack of political will. It results in postponing certain decision supporting reforms until some clarity with the government and clear roadmap appears, said the IRF chairman.