Electoral legislation: warnings heeded but risks remain


The amendments to electoral legislation just adopted by parliament as base have been generally welcomed. According to the Head of the Committee of Voters of Ukraine, Oleksandr Chernenko, “Commonsense overruled Deputies’ political ambitions”.  He considers that the draft law on the Presidential elections has taken into consideration most of the recommendations from European bodies, and hopes that the Deputies will resist the temptation to introduce other changes convenient for their political forces. He welcomes the fact that civic organizations will have the right to act as observers. While this right was envisaged in the draft laws of Pysarenko and Lukash, there were other dangerous norms.

Denis Kovryzhenko, expert from the Laboratory of Legislative Initiatives, agrees, and says that the Verkhovna Rada has taken into consideration 90% of the Venice Commission and OSCE’s recommendations.  However dangerous norms remain, for example, the procedure for regulating pre-election campaigning and the lack of non-court complaints over the electoral process.

Neither excludes the possibility for abuse remaining in the norms left in the draft law about amendments to the voter lists on Election Day. However, since this is possible only on a court order, that will significantly reduce the level of potential rigging.

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