KIEV (Reuters) - The Ukrainian parliament voted on Thursday to withdraw a law on the creation of an anti-corruption court, paving the way for the submission of a new law more in line with demands from backers, including the International Monetary Fund.
Slow progress establishing an independent court to deal with corruption cases has been one of the main obstacles to the disbursement of loans under a $17.5 billion aid-for-reforms programme from the Fund.
President Petro Poroshenko has promised to submit a draft law to set up such a court, but first parliament needed to vote to withdraw a similar bill that did not meet recommendations by a leading European rights watchdog.
The motion was backed by 235 lawmakers, slightly more than the 226 required to pass.
MP Mustafa Nayyem said he had heard from sources that the president would submit the new law to parliament on Thursday.
“It took the presidential administration a whole year to develop this document,” Nayyem said in a post on Facebook.
“They (the authorities) tried to convince the world that we have no use for it (a court). As a result of public accusations from foreign partners and the noise of street protests, they’ve backed down,” he said.
The president’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment on whether Poroshenko plans to submit the law on Thursday.
The IMF and Ukraine’s other foreign backers have repeatedly called for Ukraine to improve efforts to root out graft. They see an anti-corruption court as an essential tool for eliminating the power of vested interests.
Earlier in December, Poroshenko emphasised his commitment to reform, responding to accusations that the Ukrainian authorities were deliberately sabotaging the anti-corruption fight.
Establishing the court, sticking to gas price commitments and implementing sustainable pension reform are the key conditions Ukraine must meet to qualify for the next loan tranche of around $2 billion from the IMF.
Reporting by Natalia Zinets; Writing by Alessandra Prentice; Editing by Angus MacSwan