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07.09.2011

New Electoral System – the Voters little considered

   

 

Ukrainians are against closed candidate lists and a mixed electoral system. This was what a study carried out by the Civic Consortium of Electoral Initiatives between 8 and 15 August 2011 found.  Yet parliamentarians have drawn up a draft Law on the Parliamentary Elections [lit: on the Elections of National Deputies of Ukraine] which envisages a change of the proportional system with closed candidate lists to a mixed system.

According to Svitlana Kononchuk from the Independent Centre for Political Research, the new draft Law, presently undergoing examination by the Venice Commission, is a part of the Party of the Regions’ strategy “for extending and retaining their power”.

“The mixed system which was used at the local elections will be pushed so that the party can gain the same convincing outcome at the parliamentary elections. The whole weight of the state will be aimed at ensuring that those in power get the biggest number of votes possible, particularly because of the level of confidence in them which is falling more and more”.

The electoral system will be changed by means of political haggling and discussion

Ihor Kohut, Head of the Laboratory of Legislative Initiatives, believes that the new electoral system contains a number of hidden dangers. These lie for example in the unclear boundaries of electoral constituencies; financing; the lack of proper provision of information; as well as the people who supposedly put forward their own candidacy and who will serve as technical votes in parliament.

“A return is proposed to a mixed system. This is not new, we are returning to what there was. The advantages are that at least partially we get rid of closed lists and can speak of single mandate constituencies and direct representation. On the other hand, parliament will be divided into two categories – those who should work in the constituencies and those who’ll receive bonuses thanks to the various circumstances, how they found their way on the list”.

The Head of the Committee of Voters of Ukraine, Oleksandr Chernenko predicts that the draft Law will be a source of political haggling and will elicit considerable discussion. He stresses that the main task of civic organizations is to ensure an educational and awareness raising campaign, to involve political experts, and also lobby the interests of the public in parliament.

“The elections will be extremely problematical whatever the law passed is like. At the present stage we need to do everything to ensure that a high-quality law is passed, and then we’ll talk about how to ensure decent-quality elections.”

The above-mentioned study also found that Ukrainians are against removing the option “against all” from the ballot papers.  The level of confidence in institutions of power has also fallen.  Support for the President’s actions has fallen to 26.6%; to the Cabinet of Ministers – to 19.8%.  Only courts got a lower rating – a little higher than 16.5%.

The Civic Consortium is made up of the Laboratory of Legislative Initiatives; the Committee of Voters of Ukraine; the Ukrainian Independent Centre for Political Research and OPORA. 

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