Viche 2014 10

10, 2014

The Constitution of Civil Society. Proposal for Reforms*

Can the current Constitution of Ukraine be considered as the Basic Law that is directly applicable? Does its content meet the \r
requirements of the Ukrainian nation and the Ukrainian state? Which Constitution should the state have: one which is a declarative collection of good intentions or another which is the main code of legal norms?

A group of enthusiasts led by political scientist Ievgen Holybard pro bono tried to find answers to all these questions. Their extraordinary project is known as The Constitution of the Ukrainian Republic What It Was and What Should Be. The draftspeople of the new Basic Law (including all the articles from the first Preamble to the Final and Transitional Provisions) call it the Constitution of Solidarity and Justice. The innovative text is built on the principles of functional conditionality and mutual responsibility of the authorities and the citizens. As stated on the cover of this unusual edition, the Constitution of Solidarity is a means of normative regulation and a justification of solidary legal relations between the citizens of the Ukrainian Republic regardless of their level in the social
hierarchy, official or other duties.

 The project essentially differs from the previous Basic Laws by its content, orientation and mandatory application to be used in the interest of all the citizens (that is set forth in the text of the draft Constitution). Unlike preceding documents which were only made as declarations of intent and had largely ceremonial nature, the Constitution of Solidarity is an efficient set of legal rules predestinated for undeniable practical application.

It has clearly formulated requirements that society has made to public officials, political parties, NGOs, and citizens. Due to that, each article of the functionally conditioned Constitution of Solidarity consists of three parts, as follows:

the constitutional rule (requirement) with respect to the function to be performed by the appropriate authoritative body, official or any other person, in particular, a citizen;

the appointment of an authoritative body (official) to be responsible for supervising and monitoring of compliance with this rule;

sanctions to be imposed for violation of the relevant constitutional rule.

Due to this very approach, the draft may really be transformed into the Basic Law of direct action, and, therefore, the true foundation of all legislation and an example of the practical realization of the main legal instrument of the state.

The Constitution of Solidarity reveals definitions of fundamental concepts that constitute grounds for a republican state system and are used during the process of nation-building, namely:

a republic, i.e. the state of public (popular) power;

mutual responsibility as a condition of the solidary state system;

social postulate of the solidarity;

a slogan of social activities;

a criterion for social activities of each state and non-governmental body and employee, every officer and every citizen of Ukraine;

the national idea, the national issue, and the language issue;

the ideology of Ukrainian patriotism and the three ideals of the Ukrainian nation: the moral, the educatory, and the political;

the separation of powers into four components to be independent within their competence: legislative, central executive, self-governing, and judicial ones;

clarification of the state symbols of the Ukrainian Republic;

main responsibilities (functions) of each citizen of the Ukrainian Republic;

requirements for political parties and civic organizations.

Thus, considering the political ideal of the Ukrainian nation, the authors propose to recognize it as the optimal result of joint scientific, economic, cultural, educational and behavioral, and international activities of the state authoritative bodies, institutions, enterprises and organizations of all forms of ownership, civic organizations, and individuals which presupposes that:

1) the unemployment rate in Ukraine does not exceed 3 per cent;

2) the inflation rate is not greater than 3 per cent annually;

3) the total state debt is lower than the annual amount of the budget deficit;

4) the export surplus is positive;

5) the Ukrainian language is used daily by all citizens of the Ukrainian Republic at all levels of communication, in all areas, fields and segments of the public information space;

6) in terms of per capita income, the Ukrainian Republic belongs to the top ten countries in the world;

7) in terms of the mean length of life of citizens, Ukraine belongs to the top ten countries in the world;

8) Ukraine is fully self-sufficient in essential sources of energy and raw materials, and does not depend on foreign suppliers;

9) the Armed Forces of the Ukrainian Republic and other paramilitary groups are participated in by all patriotic citizens and are able to defend the independence, territorial integrity and sovereignty of the state;

10 ) Ukraine is in the list of top ten countries in the world according to the state of its environment and ecology indicators;

11) due to the achievements of its representatives in tournaments, at the stadiums and in the sports arenas, the Ukrainian Republic belongs to the top ten countries in the world;

12) the Ukrainian Republic and Ukrainians have a well-deserved reputation all over the world.

 For the first time, the proposed draft Constitution clearly defines the structure of a civil society which should correspond to a three-tier administrative-territorial system; determines the appropriate functions of government to be carried out at every level which presupposes maximum working detalization of activities, duties, powers, funding sources, and expenditures in different spheres. The organization and legal norms to regulate local self-government were explored with particular attention.

The Chapter Basic Functions of the State determines functions of the relevant authoritative bodies including such as the Service for Protection of Constitutional Rights of the Citizens, the State Control Committee, the Foreign Affairs Service of the Ukrainian Republic, etc. Resembling the other ones, this Chapter also contains many innovations. So, the Section Defence and Security foresees the activities of military units of territorial defence; the Section Economic Activities: Planning, Production, Finance determines a single tax rate; and the Section Sphere of Health-Improvement and Social Support of the Citizens provides incentives for personal health improvement of the citizens.

The Section Service for Protection of Constitutional Rights of the Citizens stipulates that this Service should coordinate activities of the police prefects, support activities of the regional police providing their emplo-yees (including the local sheriffs) with personnel, professional, and organization assistance.

The Chapter Central Bodies of State Government determines functions and rules of activities of the National Legislative Assembly of the Ukrainian Republic, the Council of Ministers of the Ukrainian Republic and its administration, the President of the Ukrainian Republic and their office. The requirements for candidates for high public posts, including the post of the President of the Ukrainian Republic, are also clearly formulated. The rules on activities and responsibilities of the Ministry of Justice, Prosecutors Office, Courts and Judiciary, as well as the Constitutional Tribunal of the Ukrainian Republic are presented in the Chapter Justice.

 The draft text is prefaced by a brief insight into the history of the constitutional process in Ukraine starting from the Russian Truth to the first Basic Law of independent Ukraine.

The authors of the draft Constitution of the Ukrainian Republic hope that this edition becomes a matter of discussion for the general public.


 *Book review: The Constitution of the Ukrainian Republic What It Was and What Should Be (2014). I. Holybard (ed.). : .

Vitaly KORZH