Every time MP gets into the scandal, it reduces public trust not only to a particular MP but to Parliament in general. Unfortunately, such scandals occur every month, sometimes every week.
It is not surprising that recent polls show public distrust of Parliament in more than 75%.
Last week, August 23, MP from the “Servant of the People,” deputy chairman of the Budget Committee, Olexander Truhin, got in an accident at Boryspil highway. As a result of the accident, six people were injured. Trukhin, according to media reports, was in a state of intoxication.
However, the most interesting part started after the accident.
Mentions of Trukhin’s involvement in this accident began to disappear from the media sites that wrote about it. However, none of these media refuted the information or additions – the news simply disappeared. Some media outlets reported that they got a request from some alleged PR agency to remove articles.
The “Servant of the People” still not commented on the incident.
As a result, we have a situation where the MP of Ukraine tries to avoid responsibility and disseminate information about the accident with his participation, and the party, in turn, conceals it as it is impossible to call it otherwise in such a situation.
Last month, on July 8, an accident involving a member of parliament took place in the center of Lviv. This time the “main actor” was a non-party MP Oleksandr Yurchenko. After the accident, he tried to flee the scene, inflict damage on the injured driver, and that`s all under the influence of drugs, which was confirmed by the test.
What is the problem?
The worst thing in this situation is that the Parliament does not have a mechanism for punishing members of parliament in such cases. Therefore, the Verkhovna Rada Regulatory Committee stated that it could not punish Yurchenko. This again indicates the need to introduce a code of conduct for MPs.
Of course, the problem is not only the lack of the Code of Conduct for parliamentarians but also the problem of a broken justice system. Members of parliament sometimes seem to be outside the legal field, ignoring any rules and regulations and not being responsible for it. After all, there is no clear mechanism for influencing deputies who violate the law.
The law is the same for everyone, but MPs have a special procedure for bringing justice. Only NABU or the central office of the State Bureau of Investigation can conduct investigations of members of parliament, and only the Prosecutor General can carry out amendments to the Unified register of pre-trial investigations. Only after investigations, the trial, and, indeed, the judgment, authorities of the MP could be terminated.
How can we solve these problems?
Public attention to the problems of reforming law enforcement and prevent MPs privilege in matters of justice – its first steps.
However, the introduction of the Code of Conduct may also provide mechanisms for the prevention and resolution of problems when MP`s uses their power for selfish purposes, their behavior does not meet professional requirements, and so on. It is important to note that the Code should be the set of rules that members of parliament will use in their daily activities. That is, it should regulate relations in both legislative and parliamentary activities, as well as non-parliamentary activities related to the performance of the functions of the MP.
The scandals in which parliamentarians get involved are most often relate to their extra-parliamentary activities. For the Code to be effective, every parliamentarian must feel responsible for activities that run counter to his or her professional requirements and understand the legitimacy of the Code.
The development of professional and ethical standards for deputies has many advantages:
First, accountability is improved, and trust is strengthened. Society will understand the system of regulating ethics, and it will be easier for it to trust parliamentarians because it will know that any violations will be detected, and violators will be punished. In turn, parliamentarians will feel responsible, as the Code will provide for sanctions, possibly even in the form of termination of office.
Second, the Code can be a means of combating corruption. The established standards will help prevent abuse of office and other forms of corruption, as they establish clear rules of conduct for parliamentarians, mechanisms for monitoring their work, and provide for penalties for violations. These standards will help MPs better understand what society expects of them, especially after certain scandals that may potentially arise.
Third, the Code can be a tool for policy professionalization. Often the behavior of members of the Parliament of Ukraine in the workplace does not meet ethical and moral norms (for example, verbally insulting another MP, fights, sexist behavior, etc.). Unethical behavior in the Parliament undermines the professionalism in the public’s eyes, not only of an individual member but of the Parliament as a whole. Once in parliament, MPs must follow the same rules of conduct in the workplace. Unified standards will also help unite members of parliament themselves and resolve certain political differences constructively.
Thus, developing a Code of Conduct for MPs remains open and it is especially relevant in scandalous situations when members of parliament abuse their professional position. Ukrainian legislation contains many norms concerning MPs ethics, sanctions in case of committing offenses, however, on the one hand, they are unregulated, and on the other hand – there are no principles of conduct of MPs outside the parliament. Therefore, the Code of Conduct could become the basis that would form the internal social responsibility of members of parliament, unify ethical standards and guidelines for all parliamentarians, and as a result – strengthen citizens’ trust in the parliamentary corps.
You can read more about the Code of Conduct here: