On Friday, January 19, the 7th session of the parliament was closed: in almost five months the Verkhovna Rada adopted 94 decisions. By the results of 2017, the faction of Samopomich Union became one of leaders in the rating of the quantity of the fulfilled promises and was rated among the most disciplined political forces in terms of participation in the voting of the Verkhovna Rada.
Thanks to the submission of important amendments, work in the committees and working groups, as well as the voting of the Samopomich deputies during the 7th session, a number of important decisions were adopted. Read more about them.
Educational reform (September 5)
The improvement of the situation with the Ukrainian language in schools is among the main advantages of the law “On Education”. If it is fully implemented by the relevant ministry, there will be no children who will not be able to speak the state language after finishing school.
Changes in pension legislation (October 3)
Samopomich deputies believe that one cannot call this law a reform. However, among the positive aspects of the document there is a modernization of pensions, which, according to different estimates, applies to between 5.5 and 9 million people, as well as the abolition of a shameful tax for working pensioners.
The fight for a real pension reform continues, because the law envisages an increase in the retirement age for certain categories of people and has not introduced a second savings pension level, without which there will be no decent pensions for future generations.
Medical reform (October 19)
Having supported the reform of medicine, the parliament has finally launched the mechanism for implementing the Article 49 of the Constitution, which clearly defines that medical care should be free of charge for all Ukrainians.
The Law “On State Financial Guarantees for the Provision of Medical Services and Medicines”, which launches medical reform, changes the principles of financing medical assistance, in the first place, by abolishing co-payments on te part of citizens and by introducing the principle of “money follows patients”. Secondly, according to the law, at least 5% of the country’s GDP should be allocated to medicine annually.
Changes in the electoral legislation (November 7)
The parliament supported the draft of the new Electoral Code in the first reading. The document provides for voting on a proportional basis with open lists; this means an end of the majority election system, which is a hotbed of corruption. The law also prohibits political advertising.
Having supported the new Electoral Code, the deputies for the first time in all the years of independence took a step towards ensuring that elections will be held more transparently, honestly and fairly. However, the main battle is still ahead, because the document, which has already caused a storm of emotions among a number of politicians, needs to undergo the second reading.
Legal responsibility for the occupation is on Russia (January 18)
The Verkhovna Rada needed the annexed Crimea and almost four years of confrontations in Donbas to finally begin real work on recognizing Russia as the aggressor and occupier of Ukrainian territories. This is despite the fact that Samopomich registered the relevant bill long ago and have been insisting on its consideration for more than 2.5 years.
Finally, the parliament adopted the presidential draft law on ensuring state sovereignty in the occupied territories. Samopomich considers this decision to be truly historic, because it is for the first time in many centuries that Ukraine officially recognized Russia as the aggressor and occupier.
As a result of difficult discussions, the pro-government majority did not manage to throw the word “Russia” from the document. However, the law also contains significant risks. First and foremost, this is the provision of unconstitutional powers to the President, which allow him to use the army at his own discretion. In addition to this, the law also differentiates the issues of the occupation of the Crimea and Donbas; it does not have concrete date of the beginning of the occupation, and might enable the restoration of the trade with the occupied territories in the future.
The most interesting things are yet to come
Summing up the work, the head of the Samopomich faction Oleh Bereziuk notes: “Step by step, we have to be building Ukrainian statehood next to, perhaps, the most powerful enemy of democracy that exists in the whole world – Russian despotism.”
During the new session, the faction will have a number of important tasks, the first and foremost of which is to defend the creation of the Anti-Corruption Court which would be independent from the Presidential Administration. In addition, it is important to adopt a new Electoral Code in the second reading without any doubtful amendments. Ukrainian business also expects clear laws that will protect it from raiding and arbitrariness of controlling bodies and will simplify the tax burden.
Defending fair tariffs, monitoring over the use of the budget for medicine, education and social protection, fighting regular attempts of the oligarchic majority to break down the NABU by selecting a dependent auditor, protection of the veterans who came to the defence of our country following their own free will and not orders, as well as protection of the like-minded honest representatives of Samopomich, whom people trusted to manage their communities, but of whom the authorities are blatantly getting rid – in present conditions, these challenges turn into daily work and struggle.
Therefore, the struggle continues!
Photo by Yan Dobronosov