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21.08.2009

Presidential veto on election law overridden

   

On Friday the Verkhovna Rada overcame the President’s veto on the Law ““On amendments to some legislative acts regarding the Presidential elections. 325 National Deputies of the 371 registered voted for the move (BYuT – 153, Party of the Regions – 168; Our Ukraine – People’s Self-Defence – 4; there were no votes from either the Lytvyn Bloc or the Communist Party).

Not one of the President’s proposed amendments was taken into consideration. Our concern is not with which “side” gains the upper hand in the permanent and senseless struggle for power, but that all mechanisms should be applied to ensure free and fair elections. The law which parliament managed to wrench back today has been strongly criticized by the Committee of Voters of Ukraine. 

There is nothing new to be said, and so the following is repeated information. It is galling that politicians should pay so little heed to the well-founded concerns of civic society.

Following the adoption of the law, we reported the damning comments made by the Head of the Committee of Voters of Ukraine [CVU], Oleksandr Chernenko. The criticism was over:

- rules for appealing against the results,

- the possibility of removing civic organizations from observing the elections

- an increase to 2.5 million UAH of the amount which candidates must put down and its return only if they get into the second round of voting.

The strongest objections, in his view, are aroused by the norm on appealing against the results of the elections by a court of only one level, and within two days only. “If this law had been in force in 2004 then Yanukovych would have been elected President. We recall what kind of rigging there was then, and the Supreme Court during a direct television broadcast proved it. According to the law just passed this would be virtually impossible”, Mr Chernenko is convinced.

It is understood that the President will be making a submission to the Constitutional Court and it is to be hoped that some of the worst provisions may be annulled (although it remains to be seen whether such a judgment will be heeded).

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