Adoption of Law on Parliamentary Elections may be postponed till the autumn
The newspaper Kommersant – Ukraine quotes Volodymyr Lytvyn, Speaker of the Verkhovna Rada as saying that the draft Law on the Elections of National Deputies is unlikely to be passed before parliament breaks for the summer (on 15 July). Unfortunately, this would seem unconnected with the need to receive an assessment from the Venice Commission.
As reported here, the draft bill was posted on the Ministry of Justice website on 27 May. Minister of Justice Lavrynovych said that it had been revised following discussion, and that it was now being translated into English and being sent for assessment to the Venice Commission and to the International Foundation of Electoral Systems (USA). This was the first mention of IFEA which was presumably approached after the two international NGOs invited to take part in the working group on drawing up the legislation suspended their participation until such time as the Group’s work became more transparent and took into account different views (see http://www.khpg.org/en/index.php?id=1301987268).
The Venice Commission clearly requires time to fully assess and advise on the legislation. Last year the ruling coalition passed and the President signed a vital law on changes to the judicial system well before the Venice Commission had had time to review it. Its assessment a few months later was highly critical.
Judging from the Kommersant – Ukraine report, it seems likely that the bill has encountered problems within the ruling majority. There is one obvious reason. It presently envisages raising the threshold for parties to get into parliament to 5%. The two smaller parties which joined forces with the Party of the Regions in March 2010 to create a new government are both against this change. Both would be in danger of not getting enough votes. The Head of the Party of the Regions faction in parliament, O. Yefremov said last Thursday that discussions were underway on this subject.
New information reported at Kommersant – Ukraine