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Parliament passes bill tailored for presidential protege

The propresidential faction leader is given the green light for the top prosecutor's post.

Parliament passes bill tailored for presidential protege

Ukraine's Verkhovna Rada on Thursday, 12 May put on the agenda and passed bill No 4645, which allows the head of the Petro Poroshenko Bloc (PPB) faction, Yuriy Lutsenko, to be appointed prosecutor-general.

The motion was voted for by 258 MPs at the required minimum of 226. The bill was supported by 130 of 144 members of the PPB, 76 of 81 members of the People's Front, 20 of 23 members of the Revival group, 14 of 19 members of the People's Will, Artem Vitko of the Radical Party, and three representatives of the Opposition Bloc and 14 unaffiliated lawmakers.

The bill was sponsored by MPs Viktor Korol (PPB) and Serhiy Drayuk (People's Front).

The document in fact duplicates the main provisions of bill №4469, voted down and rejected on Wednesday. The new bill, however, has a number of provisions pertaining to the State Bureau of Investigation, absent from the previous bill.

These additions allowed the Committee on Legislative Support for Law Enforcement on Wednesday to review the document and recommend it for adoption.

Essentially, the novelty envisages amendments to Article 40 of the effective Law "On the Prosecutor-General's Office" that soften the requirements for candidates for the post of prosecutor-general, voiding the mandatory requirement for the chief prosecutor to have a degree in law. The previous mandatory requirement for the candidate to possess at least five-year work experience as a prosecutor gave way to the requirement of five-year experience in parliament or any law-enforcement agency.

In addition, the bill allows not only persons with prosecutorial background, but also those who have experience in the field of law, not necessarily with the Prosecutor-General's Office, to be appointed as heads of regional prosecutor's offices and prosecutors of the Prosecutor-General Office.

The bill, just as the draft rejected on Tuesday, is considered to be tailored for the head of the PPB faction, Yuriy Lutsenko, whom the president wants to see as the new prosecutor-general. Lutsenko has neither job experience with the prosecution agencies nor law education, but is a seasoned lawmaker and former interior minister.

According to the Verkhovna Rada Rules of Procedure, a bill that has been rejected or in fact repeats a rejected piece of legislation, cannot be reviewed during the same session.

On 3 April, President Poroshenko dismissed Prosecutor-General Viktor Shokin. The Prosecutor-General's Office is currently headed by his former deputy Yuriy Sevruk.