Ukraine approves new law limiting oligarch influence in politics

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Ukraine

A controversial law to limit the political and economic influence of Ukraine’s oligarchs was passed with a clear majority by the country’s parliament in Kiev on Thursday.

The legislation provides for the creation of a so-called oligarch register. For the next 10 years, those on the list will no longer be allowed to support political parties financially, participate in privatizations and will be obliged to disclose their assets.

The National Council for Security and Defence, which is directly appointed by the president, is to determine who merits inclusion on the oligarch’s register, alarming many about its potential for abuse.

President Volodymyr Zelensky has recently used the council to block opposition television stations and websites. His opponents accuse him of trying to clean up the media landscape and eliminate possible competitors before running for president again in 2024.

Before the bill was passed, the parliament’s human rights commissioner, Lyudmyla Denisova, wrote to members warning that the legislation was unconstitutional.

Parliamentary Speaker Dmytro Razumkov wanted to have the draft law examined by the Venice Commission of the council, which provides states with independent advice on proposed legislation. Despite the Venice Commission agreeing to review the law in December, Zelensky’s parliamentary group decided to go ahead with the vote regardless.

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