Electoral Law Amendments for appearance only
As reported, the Verkhovna Rada on 30 August made amendments to the law on the local elections. The Committee of Voters of Ukraine [CVU] approves of the amendments but calls them merely “changes for appearance to please the West”.
The amendments removed the restriction on parties and their branches taking part in the elections if they hadn’t been registered at least a year. The number of members of territorial electoral commissions has also risen to 18, with all parties registered in Ukraine able to put forward candidates. (In fact, only 3 of the 18 members can be chosen by parties not present in parliament, with the right of choice being by draw – translator).
The parliamentarians had only political motives in passing the amendments, Oleksandr Chernenko, Head of CVU, is convinced. After all, the ruling coalition has still not allowed independent candidates to put themselves forward for city mayoral posts, with this being the prerogative of parties.
He believes that the members of the coalition decided to change electoral legislation so as to allow more participants in the elections thus diffusing the opposition electorate, bringing parties loyal to the regime into the local councils, while apparently demonstrating to the international community that there is democracy in Ukraine and that it’s not fair to criticize it. “This is more likely a half-step towards democracy and that is determined not by the wish to improve the elections but by the desire to make them harder for the rivals of the ruling party”, Mr Chernenko asserts. He is convinced that the amendments increasing the number of members of the territorial electoral commissions will wreak chaos in the electoral process and the Central Election Commission will not have time to make a proper check of all details and carry out honest draws from members of the commissions, and they will be formed by local State administrations, goodness knows by what principle.
The author of the amendments, Oleksandr Yefremov, Head of the Party of the Regions, asserts that parties will be able to ensure proper control over the putting forward of their candidates by the commissions.