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Petition asking Zelensky to veto asset declarations law passes threshold for presidential consideration

by Elsa Court and The Kyiv Independent news desk September 6, 2023 9:50 PM 1 min read
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky enters the Verkhovna Rada hall on July 16, 2023 in Kyiv, Ukraine. (Photo by Andrii Nesterenko/Global Images Ukraine via Getty Images)
This audio is created with AI assistance

A petition asking President Volodymyr Zelensky to veto the draft law on asset declarations has reached more than 35,000 signatures since it was posted earlier in the day on Sept. 6.

Zelensky must consider all petitions on the official site for petitions to the president if they reach 25,000 signatures.

On Sept. 5, the Ukrainian parliament passed a bill in its second reading to restore asset declarations for officials, which have been central to talks on Ukraine's accession to the European Union and borrowing money from the International Monetary Fund.

However, parliament voted that there will be no public access to officials' asset declarations for one more year, and only law enforcement agencies will be able to check them.

The petition asks Zelensky to demand that parliament amend the law so that asset declarations are publicly accessible.

The draft law as it stands deprives citizens and journalists "of a tool for monitoring the actions of officials and a main safeguard against corruption during the war," according to the petition.

"Hiding government declarations from Ukrainians means covering up total corruption in the country," it concludes.

Earlier on Sept. 6, Zelensky said he will decide whether to veto a draft law on asset declarations after consultations with Olha Stefanishyna, the deputy prime minister for European and Euro-Atlantic integration.

Anti-corruption watchdogs and opposition lawmakers have argued that the EU and IMF are unlikely to accept the bill in this form.

Electronic asset declarations for officials were instituted as part of the country's fight against corruption following the 2014 Euromaidan Revolution.

All state officials were required to declare their assets as part of the reform.

At the start of the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, the requirement for submitting e-declarations was suspended, and public access to the declarations was shut down. Officials have still been able to submit them on a voluntary basis.

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