Volodymyr Zelensky is definitely on thin ice over legitimacy of his ‘5 questions’ plebiscite he held along the local elections.
First and foremost, the Ukrainian president just has not right to authorize such votes of the electorate pursuant to art.106 of Ukraine’s constitution, which means Zelensky disregarded one more constitutional norm. The article 19 stipulates officials must act within their authorities defined by the constitution and Ukrainian laws.
In 2008, Ukraine’s Constitution Court passed a verdict (#6-pn/2008) clarifying the legal aspects of holding a referendum. It ruled a referendum is legitimate part of direct democracy arguing, though, it effects can’t cancel out the authority of a parliament.
One of the questions of Zelensky plebiscite asked voters was if they support life imprisonment for acts of ‘major corruption’. It is clearly at odds with art.92 of Ukraine’ constitution that says criminal liablties are defined by the law.
It should be noted that the Ukrainian president does have constitution powers for a legislative initiative (art.93), but he can exercise it only by introducing bills in the parliament.
The same legal inaccuracy comes with the plebiscite questions about reduction of the parliamentary seats by a third and establishment of a free trade zone in Donetsk and Luhansk regions. By bringing them forth Zelensky violated the constitutional norms that regulate the same procedures and ways of exercising power by bodies of authority.
The question about cannabis use for medical purposes was also hardly legitimate given such issues must be addressed only by Ukrainian laws under art.178 of Ukraine’s Civil Code. Besides, Ukraine has got the specific law that covers drugs and psychotropic substances’ usage meaning Zelensky yet again interfered with the legislative order on objects of civil rights.
“Do you support Ukraine’s right to use the security guarantees set out in the Budapest Memorandum to restore its state sovereignty and territorial integrity?”, went the last question in Zelensky’s plebiscite, and it also runs counter to the constitutional norms (art.106) as national security and foreign policies are in the president’s domain, meaning he can not just hand these powers over to other bodies of authority or any third parties.