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KYIV POST:  The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) has supported a resolution on the functioning of democratic institutions in Ukraine.

A total of 102 out of 109 deputies voted for the resolution on Tuesday. One deputy voted against the document, and six others abstained.

The voting took place after the discussion of a report on the functioning of democratic institutions in Ukraine. The rapporteurs were Mailis Reps (Estonia) and Renate Wohlwend (Liechtenstein).

The summary of the report says that the Monitoring Committee "is concerned that the current relative stability is fragile, as the underlying systemic causes of the instability that has plagued the country in recent years have not been addressed."

"Moreover, it is concerned that the hasty manner in which the authorities are implementing the reforms could negatively affect respect for proper democratic principles and, ultimately, the quality of the reforms themselves," the speakers believe.

The Monitoring Committee said that "far-reaching reforms are needed to meet the remaining accession commitments, which by their nature should be based on an as wide a political consensus as possible and public support for them, in order for them to be effective."

"This is only possible if respect for parliamentary procedures and democratic principles is observed. In addition, we call upon the authorities and leadership of the Verkhovna Rada to ensure that the Council of Europe is consulted on the different reforms and, most notably, that the Venice Commission is asked for an opinion on the final versions of the laws before they are adopted in a final reading," reads the document.

The document also calls on the Ukrainian authorities "to implement constitutional reforms that would create a robust and stable political framework, with a clear separation between the different branches of power and an effective system of checks and balances between them."

"The consolidation of power by the ruling majority is understandable and, in the context of the years of political infighting between the different branches of power in Ukraine, possibly even desirable. However, utmost care should be taken that such consolidation of power does not turn into a concentration or, even worse, a monopolization, of power in the hands of one political group, as this would undermine the democratic development of the country," the PACE deputies said.

In addition, the committee expresses its concern about the increasing number of allegations that democratic freedoms, such as freedom of assembly, freedom of expression and freedom of the media, have come under pressure in recent months.

It therefore calls upon the authorities to investigate all allegations of infringements of rights and freedoms and remedy any violations found, and stresses that any regression in the respect for or protection of democratic freedoms and rights would be unacceptable.

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