NDI suspends participation in non-transparent preparation of election legislation
The National Democratic Institute has decided to suspend its participation in the Working Group on Improving Election Legislation until work on the new law becomes more transparent. According to an NDI statement reported in the Ukrainian media, on 17 March 2011 the Institute informed the Minister of Justice Oleksandr Lavrynovych of its temporary withdrawal from the Working Group. The letter from Laura Jewett, Regional Director for Europe, stated that this was until such time as the Group’s work on the draft law becomes more transparent and takes into consideration different views.
The letter stresses that without this, the law will not win the public’s trust. It will be a step backwards, not progress towards the achievement of democratic elections.
Ms Jewett expressed concern that the working group is closed, with opposition parties and civic organizations unable to fully take part in the working process. The law was being discussed and effectively written behind closed doors.
She points to a lack of balance and pro-government slant in the makeup of the Working Group. Its work needs to be more transparent and ensure public exchange of views and involvement in the process of all interested parties.
Ms Jewett stressed that the NDI would be happy to return to the Group once such changes were made.
It had been reported earlier that influential American organizations taking part in the Working Group were thinking of withdrawing since they saw it as a Potemkin village-like cover. The Minister of Justice has expressed surprise and wondered whether Ms Jewell, who was present at the meeting of the Working Group has any understanding of the process.