Banning parties without a court ruling is illegal – Ukrainian Justice Ministry
KIEV, January 29 (RAPSI) – The decision taken by local governments in some regions of Ukraine to ban the Party of Regions and the Communist Party is invalid because only a court can take this kind of step, Justice Minister Olena Lukash said in a statement published on the ministry’s website.
Some local councils and self-proclaimed bodies of the People’s Council (Narodna Rada) in West Ukraine have banned the Party of Regions and the Communist Party in their regions.
Minister Lukash said the Ukrainian constitution guarantees the freedom of political activity that is not prohibited by law. The authorities have no power to interfere in the operation of political parties, which can only be banned by a court decision, she said. Moreover, a ban on a political party without a court decision contradicts European standards on political parties.
“Therefore, any decisions to ban political parties taken without a court approval cannot be considered valid and will not be recognized as such in a democratic society. These are illegal decisions,” Ms. Lukash said in her statement.
On January 22, the opposition deputies unanimously approved a declaration establishing the Narodna Rada as a collegiate body authorized to represent the interests of Ukrainian people. It has been established in the Lvov and Ternopol regions, Vinnitsa and Lutsk.
On January 27, the Kiev Self-Government Committee, which was established in early December, was transformed into a People’s Council (Narodna Rada).
Opposition protests have been ongoing in Ukraine since President Viktor Yanukovych’s decision in November for closer ties with Russia, not the EU. The protests turned violent after the government pushed through draconian laws curtailing the right to public assembly earlier this month. At least five people were killed in the fighting between radical nationalists and riot police in Kiev.
The legislation was rolled back, and the Cabinet of longtime Yanukovych ally Mykola Azarov was dissolved on Tuesday, after violence began spreading to the rest of the country. No replacement was proposed for former Prime Minister Azarov as of early Wednesday. Opposition leader Arseny Yatsenyuk turned down the post earlier this week.