Following a law which came into force on last month, Ukrainians have been active in their use of their right to initiate and sign online petitions. The law obliges the presidential administration to consider any demand supported by at least 25,000 citizens within 90 days after petition launch.
Thus it has taken merely one week for a petition demanding that former Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili be appointed prime minister to gather the required number of signatures. It remains to be seen whether the Ukrainian parliament – which has a constitutional basis for appointing prime ministers – will follow the petitioners’ demand, given that Saakashvili himself has stated that he is not applying for this position.
In Georgia, Saakashvili marked his two presidential terms (2004-2013) by strong and partially successful anti-corruption measures, as well as a strong anti-Russian stance. Since the Maidan revolution, he has been an active supporter of the new Ukrainian authorities. On 30 May 2015 Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko appointed him Governor of the Odessa region. He was also granted Ukrainian citizenship.
Weapons for citizens
Even more successful has been the petition for “Ukrainian citizens’ right to protection.” Launched by the Ukrainian Association of Weapon Owners, the call reached the required number of online signatures in just six days.
The petition demands that citizens be granted the right to own weapons “to protect their lives and health, housing and property, the life and health of other people, the constitutional rights and liberties in the case of usurpation of power, violations of the constitution and violations of Ukraine’s sovereignty and integrity.”
Against “state racket” in the IT sector
Another petition aims to establish a privileged legal and tax regime for IT companies. Not only should their registration be simplified, but the petition also suggests that these companies be exempted from taxes and inspections from the authorities for the next 10 years.
Among the other demands are the creation of a nationwide, free Internet access infrastructure and several measures to stimulate IT education.
On Sept. 9, five days after launch, the petition had gathered 850 signatures.
The initiator of the petition, Alexander Momot, believes that the IT sector is currently being exposed to a “state racket.” If freed and stimulated, this sector could develop and thrive so much that it could account for 10%-20% of Ukraine’s GDP instead of the current 3%, turning programmers into a powerful class of consumers and tax payers.
Stopping the brain drain that leads the country’s best programmers “to work at Facebook” should also be a priority, Momot told Ukrainian tech blog AIN.UA.
Momot, who is a member of the board of directors of the Ukrainian branch of the Bitcoin Foundation, has also launched a petition to legalize bitcoins in Ukraine.
Sources: AIN.UA, President.gov.ua