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08.04.2009

CVU: Politicians are hampering electoral reform in Ukraine

   

On 7 April the Committee of Voters of Ukraine held a press conference on “Electoral reform in conditions of political crisis” with the participation of the Head of the CVU Board Oleksandr Chernenko and the Deputy Head Yevhen Radchenko.

The following points were noted:

  • The adverse effect of the political crisis on electoral reform. He said that most politicians viewed changes to electoral legislation from the vantage point of their own narrow corporate interests, with their main concern being to ensure that their factions are represented as widely as possible in the future parliament;
  • At present there are 8 draft laws tabled in the Verkhovna Rada proposing a system for electing National Deputies according to open candidate lists, yet their consideration is being stymied by party leaders. The profile committee has not even considered any of these draft laws.  CVU points out that implementation of an electoral system based on open candidate lists was one of the points of the coalition agreement and therefore the adoption of such amendments could remove argument regarding the viability of the parliamentary coalition;
  • CVU calls on the profile committee to begin consideration of these draft laws;
  • “CVU considers that the holding at the same time of Presidential and early elections for National Deputies could be a way out of the political crisis and provide qualitative renewal of the Ukrainian political realm. However in CVU’s view, the holding of such elections would only be possible with the consensus of the political forces represented in parliament and on condition that changes are made to electoral legislation.”
  • It stresses that under current legislation it is virtually impossible to hold concurrent presidential and parliamentary elections. It suggests that a way around this would be to pass a special law, this including procedure for holding concurrent elections, and a “political component” with National Deputies being elected according to open candidate lists. It considers it unacceptable to worsen electoral procedure in the running of any elections;
  • It does not believe it realistic to hold concurrent elections on 25 October;
  • It would be realistic to launch a single voter register however its quality would not be ideal.
  • It stresses that given changes to the electoral system and a considerable number of procedures, major programmes for training electoral commission staff would be needed, and also as many international observers as possible.
  • CVU believes that open candidate lists would lead to an improvement in the quality and responsibility of the deputy corps; contribute to the running of administrative-territorial reform; the reduction in the influence of party leaders on the formation of candidate lists and ensure mutual link between voters and deputies. It names specific draft laws it considers most adequate;
  • It considers that a system of open regional lists where National Deputies would be elected from 27-40 electoral districts is best.
  • It proposes a four-tier system of electoral commissions;
  • CVU proposes keeping the threshold at 3%, but 5% for electoral blocs.  Each political party taking place in the elections would be obliged to put forward a candidate list in each electoral district, but there would also be a State-wide candidate list
  • It acknowledges that the procedure for counting votes under such a system is quite complicated this being another reason why training of electoral commissions is vital;
  • It points to a number of failings in the Law on Presidential Elections which would need to be removed in a special law were presidential and parliamentary elections to be held concurrently;
  • It calls on the Verkhovna Rada to make amendments and additions to the Law on Presidential elections as a matter of urgency.

Based on information from the CVU Press Service at www.cvu.org.ua

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