2019-01-17 17:31:00

Ukraine's Opposition Bloc to appeal bill on subordination of religious communities to Constitutional Court

Kiev, January 17, Interfax - Deputies from the faction Opposition Bloc will go to the Constitutional Court to seek reversal of the bill envisaging a mechanism for changing the subordination of religious communities.

"Because the regulations were massively breached during the vote, we will go to the Constitutional Court seeking recognition of this bill as unconstitutional," Alexander Dolzhenkov, a member of the Opposition Bloc, said at a plenary session of the parliament on Thursday.

The bill could provoke a civil conflict, he said.

About 20 members of his faction accompanied him to the tribune, an Interfax correspondent reported.

Dolzhenkov also said the Verkhovnaya Rada speaker had ignored a statement in which the Opposition Bloc expressed objections, and that during the vote there were instances of unauthorized proxy voting.

After that, members of the faction Opposition Bloc left the hall, saying they "[did] not want to participate in this cynicism."

Two draft decrees in which parliamentarians proposed reversing the adoption of the bill were later registered in the Verkhovnaya Rada.

One of them was authored by Vadim Novinsky, the head of the Opposition Bloc faction, and Alexander Dolzhenkov, a member of it.

The second was registered by a different group of Opposition Bloc deputies led by Yury Boiko, the former chair of the faction.

The Rada speaker cannot sign the bill until the parliament considers these decrees.

The bill, which amends the laws on subordination of religious organizations and procedures of state registration of religious organizations with the status of legal entity, was supported by 229 MPs at a plenary session of the Verkhovnaya Rada on Thursday.

The bill is related to legal issues that might arise as communities go over from the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate to the new Orthodox Church of Ukraine, which received a tomos in Constantinople.