18 Jul 2019 21:58

Rada speaker refuses to convene extraordinary sitting at president's behest

KYIV. July 18 (Interfax) - The Ukrainian parliament speaker, Andriy Parubiy, has reiterated that he was prepared to urgently convene an extraordinary parliamentary session but not a separate sitting, which is why he asked President Volodymyr Zelensky to bring his letter to Verkhovna Rada in line with the law.

Parubiy said so in a letter to the president, published on his Facebook page in response to Zelensky's letter accusing the speaker of "criminal inaction" and being incapable of "self-sacrifice for the good of the Ukrainian people."

"Again I have to repeat that your filing of July 17, 2019 was not drafted in accordance with requirements of the existing legislation... If you really want an extraordinary session to be held rather than a demonstration of a pre-election show, your office could, promptly and efficiently and without any difficulty, bring the text of the letter of the president of Ukraine to Verkhovna Rada in line with the law and forthwith pass it on to the parliamentary apparatus. And, like I already noted, I will make sure an extraordinary session is held as soon as possible," Parubiy said, stressing that if he received a proper version, he would schedule a session and order urgent preparations.

"As for self-sacrifice and victory, one must have enough merits of one's own in order to appeal to such high qualities. I will remind that among members of the current parliament are our [Anti-Terrorist Operation] veterans who liberated Ukrainian towns from the Russian occupation, shed their blood for Ukraine. Don't you forget it," Parubiy said.

It was reported that in his first letter to Parubiy, on July 16, Zelensky asked to convene an urgent sitting on July 18 to consider his proposed legislation on confiscation of officials' illegal assets, starting a selection process for the supreme anti-corruption court and deferring penalties for violation of the import rules for vehicles with foreign number plates.

The following day Parubiy said that, by law, he could call a session, but not a sitting, and asked the president to edit his request accordingly.

On July 18, Zelensky wrote another letter to Parubiy noting that the tenth Rada session continues to July 19, until which date the speaker must convene an extraordinary sitting if requested by officials stipulated in the Constitution. He also said that one day of Rada's work cost 13.3 million hryvni in taxpayer money and accused Parubiy of "treating himself to an almost two-months' holiday before the start of the first sitting of the new-term Rada."

"I am not surprised by your refusal to call an extraordinary Rada sitting. Hard work and victory are not among the current parliament's strongest points... I am sorry but you simply are incapable of self-sacrifice for the good of the Ukrainian people. All that you have demonstrated is total indifference, inactivity and ineptitude," Zelensky wrote in an accompanying comment.