Ukraine Strips Lawmakers of Immunity to Quicken Anti-Graft Drive




(Bloomberg) -- Ukraine revoked the immunity from prosecution long enjoyed by lawmakers, meeting a key campaign pledge by President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and reinforcing his corruption-busting credentials.

Parliament voted Tuesday for a constitutional amendment placing its members on the same legal footing as other citizens, starting Jan. 1.

The bill was originally submitted in 2015 by ex-President Petro Poroshenko, but was sidelined until Zelenskiy's ruling party revived it in an initial reading last week.

An explanatory note accompanying the legislation on parliament's website decried immunity as "unjustified" since it provides lawmakers with "guarantees of impunity."

The Opposition Platform group said it would seek to overturn the move.

As the new administration pushes to curb graft and improve the business climate, parliament referred a bill giving Zelenskiy more sway over the country's anti-corruption agencies to the Constitutional Court. Lawmakers can only vote on that legislation once the court has approved it.

Separately, the assembly will discuss whether to streamline the number of deputies to 300 from 450, and to set up a fully proportional electoral system.

(Updates with Constitutional Court to review scope of president's anti-graft powers in penultimate paragraph.)

To contact the reporters on this story: Kateryna Choursina in Kiev at kchoursina@bloomberg.net;Volodymyr Verbyany in Kiev at vverbyany1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Scott Rose at rrose10@bloomberg.net, Andrew Langley, Balazs Penz

For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

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