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17.05.2007

CVU: Politicians close to making a farce of the elections

   

The Committee of Voters of Ukraine is disturbed by some of the proposals from politicians on changing electoral legislation. This is the message from an official statement released on 17 May in connection with negotiations on amendments to the law on the election of National Deputies.

Of greatest concern is the fact that the discussion of such important matters is taking place without the involvement of civic organizations and specialists in the field. They also state that some of the proposals for changing electoral legislation look like open speculation. If they were to be implemented, they would jeopardize fully adequate organization of the electoral process and determination of its outcome.

CVU points out that the demand by some political forces to create a single voter register in several months is a travesty of the very idea of a register. The Committee has for over five years been calling for the creation of a voter register and welcomes the adoption by the Verkhovna Rada of the relevant legislation. However full and responsible implementation of the law passed will require at very least one year.

CVU considers that if early elections are to be held, then working groups checking the lists from 2006 and preparing new voter lists already need to be beginning their work. The task of receiving as accurate information as possible can also be helped by local departments of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, of Education and housing and communal services. The Committee’s statement points out that these ministries are headed by representatives of the coalition which should make it impossible to falsify the lists.

The Committee also calls for a reform to the regulation allowing changes to be made to the voter lists on the day of the elections following a decision by a district electoral commission or the court.

It also considers pure speculation the norm stating that the elections shall be deemed to have taken place if more than 51 percent of the voters took part. All sociological surveys suggest that there is no problem at present with voter turnout and that 70-80% of the electorate is likely to vote in the early elections. CVU believes that introducing such a threshold could lead to attempts to artificially disrupt the elections.

The Committee also fails to understand the logic of those who wish to dispense with the electronic system “Elections”. It stresses that the electronic system, based on official protocols from electoral commissions will only provide a preliminary result. At the same time, in the absence of a functional electronic count, there could be the temptation in some district commissions to falsify the information on the official protocols.

The Committee therefore calls on representatives of the political forces to treat amendments to electoral legislation with the greatest care and to not allow immediate political expediency to cloud their concern for honest and fair elections.

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