The pro-government and opposition parties in Ukraine’s Parliament have agreed to consider changes to the Constitution in order to resolve an acute political crisis that has gripped the country for more than two months now.
The opposition parties have prepared a bill on constitutional amendments and handed it to all other parties for consideration, said Arseniy Yatsenyuk, a leader of the Batkivshchyna party.
The draft basically calls for the return to the 2004 Constitution, which moved key powers to appoint a government from the President to Parliament. The 2004 constitutional reform was repealed in 2010 shortly after incumbent President Viktor Yanukovych came to power. The Constitutional Court ruled the reform was unconstitutional because the procedure of law debates and approval had been violated.
Oleksandr Yefremov, parliamentary leader of Mr Yanukovych’s dominant Party of the Regions, said his party supported the idea of amending the Constitution, but rejected the opposition’s demand to vote the amendments next week.
Mr Yefremov told reporters on Thursday that the proposed changes in the Constitution should be first discussed by non-governmental organisations, then endorsed by Parliament and sent to the Council of Europe’s Venice Commission for review.
“In this way Ukraine may have a new Constitution by September,” the lawmaker said.
Mr Yanukovych appears to be playing for time in the hope that the street protests will run out of steam.
Meanwhile, radical protesters, who clashed with police for several days last month, are refusing to comply with an amnesty law passed by Parliament last week and clear the government offices they occupied in the capital Kyiv.
A protester was badly wounded on Thursday when a package exploded in his hands inside one of the buildings seized by the right-wing nationalist group Right Sector.