International

Ukraine’s constitutional court crisis alarms IMF and Western backers

New Europe - Elena Pavlovska

Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelensky has submitted a bill to dismiss all 15 judges of the Constitutional Court that will plunge Ukraine into a major constitutional crisis.

The judges have accused Zelensky of trying to carry out a constitutional coup, as neither the president nor parliament have any powers to remove judges on the Constitutional Court. Judges can only remove each other with a two-thirds majority vote, and even then it can only be done because of health problems.

The bill follows a controversial decision by the court to strike down key anti-corruption laws that were put in place at the insistence of the country’s main donors, including the International Monetary Fund.

Last week, the court dismissed punishment for politicians who falsely declare their assets. Zelensky called the judges’ decision “worthless” and taken by the judges amid a “real conflict of interest”, according to Zelensky’s draft bill. The head of the country’s national defense council, Oleksy Danilov, said the ruling was a threat to national security.

The IMF has been holding back some of its funds until it is satisfied with the country’s progress in dealing with corruption, which is considered one of Ukraine’s biggest issues. Zelensky told the media that the IMF threatened to pull its support after the court verdict.

The ambassadors of the G7 nations, which includes the US, the UK, Germany, France, Canada, Japan, and Italy, said they “stand with the Ukrainian people” following the Constitutional Court verdict.

 

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