Thursday, June 2, 2016, could be called the most productive day in the work of the Verkhovna Rada’s current convocation. This is based not on the number of adopted decisions, but on the scale of changes associated with the adopted laws and on the level of their support among Parliament members. Parliament had launched the long-awaited judicial reform, by amending the Constitution and adopting a new version of the law on the judiciary, as well as new laws relating to the enforcement of judgments.

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On June 2 the Verkhovna Rada submitted amendments to the Constitution in the chapter regarding justice, thereby supporting the corresponding bill of President Petro Poroshenko with 335 votes. That same day, deputies adopted the law “On the Justice System and the Status of Judges” to implement and put in detail amendments to the Constitution. And though the amendments to the Constitution for the most part received a positive assessment of Ukrainian experts and international organizations, the law associated with them was criticized.

Will there be judicial reform in Ukraine? What will be the political consequences of voting for amendment to the Constitution?

“Association for Community Self-organization Assistance” all-Ukrainian NGO has launched its first Analytical Digest. The digest contains the summaries of analytical notes and articles written by Association’ s experts on the urgent problems of a local government reform, the development of self-organization and the forms of participatory democracy at the local level in Ukraine.

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On 19 May, the Parliament of Ukraine celebrated the Europe Day. On this occasion, MPs planned adoption of a series of draft laws aimed to ensure Ukraine’s fulfillment of its obligations under the Association Agreement with the EU.

The constitutional reform is underway in Ukraine, involving constitutional amendments in 3 areas: human rights, decentralization and reform of the judiciary.

The freeing of the Ukrainian pilot Nadia Savchenko, who was abducted from the territory of Ukraine in 2014 and was illegally detained under the court and investigations in Russia for nearly two years, had international resonance. There are at least two dimensions of the significance of this event: international, first and foremost in the context of Russian aggression against Ukraine, the Minsk agreements and relations of Russia with the West, as well as internal relations regarding the potential emergence of such a figure as Savchenko in Ukrainian political life.

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Two years after Petro Poroshenko became the President of Ukraine, experts gave an assessment of his achievements and failures during the press-conference „Two years of Poroshenko’s Presidency“. This assessment was based on the interviews of 57 experts, conducted by Ilko Kucheriv Democratic Initiatives Foundation.

According to Freedom House, Ukraine fell into the category of countries with “transitional government/ hybrid regime”. Also Georgia, Moldova, Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Albania fall into this category. Thus, Ukraine has improved its ranking of democracy from 4.75 points in 2014 to 4.68 points in 2016 (on a scale of 1 to 7, with 1 being the most democratic, and 7 the least).

Ukraine outperforms the average of post-Soviet and some Central European countries on several indicators — active civil society, free electoral process, and independent media. At the same time, Ukraine falls far short of the performance of EU member states because of the level of corruption, the independence judiciary and effective government.

Despite some progress in Ukraine’s political system democratisation after the Revolution of Dignity, the development of the party system is under threat as a result of the disproportionate concentration of power in the hands of party leaders. This policy brief analyses the dangerous initiatives of political leadership representatives and provides recommendations for leveling their negative consequences.

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On May 13 the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine appointed head of the factions of the Petro Poroshenko Bloc (PPB) Yuriy Lutsenko the new Prosecutor General (PG), whose candidacy the president submitted that same day. This appointment was preceded by the approval of amendments to the law “On the Prosecutor General’s Office”, which allowed an individual without legal education and experience working in prosecution bodies to be appointed the PG. Besides that, the law eased the requirements of candidates for other prosecutors’ position, envisaged the creation of a General Inspection Bureau that will investigate the activity of prosecutors, expanded the sphere of application of pre-trial investigation and judicial examination in absentia and also postponed for a year the increase in the powers of bodies of prosecutors’ self- governance.