By Doniyor Turaev
Four years ago, the Action Strategy in the five priority areas of development of the Republic of Uzbekistan in 2017-2021 (the Action Strategy) was adopted. Today there is no doubt about its constructability, as evidenced by the results of the reforms successfully carried out under the leadership of President Shavkat Mirziyoyev.
Today, conclusions can be drawn regarding the results achieved by assessing how the effectiveness of the parliament’s (Oliy Majlis) activities has increased.
In Uzbekistan, over the past four years, the powers and participation of the parliament in the implementation of reforms, in solving the most important socio-economic, political and legal problems have significantly increased. It should be emphasized that despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the activities of the Uzbek parliament in exercising its powers did not stop; to the contrary, it has intensified compared to previous years.
In particular, the following results have been achieved over the past four years:
First, the material and technical, information and analytical support of parliamentarians has been improved.
In July 2017, at a meeting with parliamentarians and representatives of parties, the Uzbek President raised a number of problematic issues that slow down the implementation of reforms and hinder the activation of the roles and proactivity of parliamentarians, local representative bodies and political parties in solving the socio-economic problems of the population, and also identified specific tasks for their elimination.
Since 2018, the Legislative and Parliamentary Research Institute has been doing its job of providing scientific, data and analytical support to the chambers of parliament. It provides assistance in improving parliamentary and legislative activities, taking into account the best practices of foreign countries and develops proposals for the implementation of international standards into national legislation, especially in the field of human rights.
Second, the quality of the legislative activity of parliament has improved.
In order to improve the legal support of ongoing reforms, systematize the legislative framework, improve the quality of rule-making activities, introduce modern digital technologies and elements of “smart regulation” into this process, the Concept for Improving Rule-Making Activities was adopted. Based on its requirements, the legislative activity of parliament is being improved, work is being coordinated to systematize and codify regulatory legal acts, revise the framework, and address inactive legislative acts.
Third, parliamentary oversight mechanisms have been strengthened.
In order to strengthen the mechanisms of parliamentary control, the provisions of the Law “On Parliamentary Control” (2016) have been improved. In particular, the changes were aimed at expanding the subjects, objects and forms of parliamentary control. Thus, the parliamentary control over the adoption and execution of the State budget has changed. For the first time in 2019, the State budget was adopted in the form of a law. The practice of reviewing the report of the Cabinet of Ministers on the progress of the implementation of the state program for the corresponding year has been introduced. Along with hearing information from members of the government at meetings of chambers, the practice of hearing information from heads of state economic enterprises was also introduced. The practice of hearing reports from the heads (khokims) of regions, districts and cities on the development of the respective territory at meetings of the Senate has also been introduced, and the norms governing parliamentary investigations have been elaborated.
Fourth, parliamentary powers in addressing the tasks of the country’s domestic and foreign policy have been broadened.
Taking into account the practice of democratic countries, in order to increase the responsibility of members of the government to parliamentarians who have received a mandate directly from the people, a procedure has been established for approval of members of the government by the lower house.
Today, the Legislative Chamber considers and approves, upon the proposal of the Prime Minister, candidates for members of the Cabinet of Ministers (the Government) for their subsequent approval by the President.
In order to improve the legal foundations of parliamentary powers in solving the issues of country’s foreign policy, the Concept of Parliamentary Diplomacy was adopted. It is aimed at determining the priorities, strategic goals and principles of the Oliy Majlis in implementation of country’s foreign policy and parliamentary diplomacy.
Fifth, the parliamentary mechanisms of dialogue with citizens are being improved and the openness of the parliament is increasing.
Over the past period, a multidimensional dialogue of parliamentarians with people has been formed, including such areas as involvement of citizens in law-making, parliamentary control, work with citizens’ appeals and accumulation of their initiatives.
It should be noted that at the initiative of the head of state, the “Mening Fikrim” (“My Opinion”) portal of collective appeals was launched in 2018. Citizens can use the portal to submit appeals on issues related to the life of society, legislation, etc. The appeals that have received a sufficient number of supporting votes from the public are considered by the competent authorities ― parliament, Cabinet of Ministers, local representative bodies.
Summarizing the above, one may note that the tasks defined in the Action Strategy are being implemented in a timely manner and step by step. Progress has been made in strengthening the role and effectiveness of the Oliy Majlis. These positive results indicate the need to continue and support the initiated course of reforms.
Doniyor Turaev is Deputy Director of the Legislation and Parliamentary Research Institute under the Oliy Majlis, the parliament of Uzbekistan.
By Doniyor Turaev