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Ukraine's parliament defies court ruling and restores anti-corruption legislation

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By Euronews  with AP, AFP
Activists had strongly protested against the court's ruling in October.
Activists had strongly protested against the court's ruling in October.   -   Copyright  SERGEI SUPINSKY / AFP

The Ukrainian parliament has voted to restore anti-corruption legislation, despite a ruling from the country's highest court.

On Friday, lawmakers decided to reauthorise criminal penalties for officials who provide false information about their incomes.

Ukraine's Constitutional Court had annulled key parts of the anti-corruption legislation in October, deeming that a requirement for officials to submit electronic income declarations was unconstitutional.

The court, which had been seized by about 50 pro-Russian members, also struck down a provision that made it a punishable criminal offence for officials to provide false income information, arguing it was too severe.

This triggered a standoff with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who said the annulment was a "threat to national security".

More than one thousand people demonstrated in front of the Constitutional Court building in Kyiv, as experts warned that the decision cost the country financial support from western Europe.

The bill passed on Friday has partially restored the legislation, requiring officials to declare incomes over 9 million hryvnias (over €262,000) and reimposes criminal punishment for providing false tax returns.

If the tax information of civil servants significantly differs from the true value, a maximum of 2 years of "restriction of liberty" can be enforced.

A total of 289 lawmakers - well above the required minimum of 226 - voted in favour of the bill, which President Zelenskyy is expected to sign into law next week.

However, the new law was immediately criticised as too lax by anti-corruption activists even though it claimed to "raise the threshold" of criminal liability.