Civic organizations call the new electoral law undemocratic
At a press conference in Kyiv late last week a number of civic organizations within the New Citizen partnership warned of problems linked with the non-transparent process for drawing up a new Law on the Elections of Ukraine’s National Deputies”. The NGOs issued a statement in which they accuse the government of totally ignoring the public’s demand for transparency and maximum involvement of civic experts in drawing up the new law.
The main problem they said was that the electoral model proposed by those in power – the mixed, majority-proportional system was pushed without any alternative, without taking into account the views of the Ukrainian public and international experts who have stated unequivocally that it is unacceptable to return to ineffective electoral mechanisms which have already been discredited.
Oleksandr Chernenko, Head of the Committee of Voters of Ukraine pointed out that the experience of previous elections had shown very clearly that a majority system most often gave scope for vote-rigging . “If we really want to force politicians to be more responsible and accountable to the voters, then the best way is a proportional system with open candidate lists. Instead, what is being offered is a hybrid which has taken the worst from both the proportional and the majority system. It is clear degradation.”
There are plenty of other problem areas which those drawing up the draft bill are in no hurry to resolve. These include timely formation of electoral constituencies; just makeup of electoral commissions; simplifying registration of constituency candidates and many others.
There are also political aspects, Oleksandra Solontai from the Youth Watch explained. She mentioned that candidates need to be obliged to publish their election programmes, yet the Justice Ministry’s draft bill does not stipulate this.
The participants in the press conference were agreed that the amendments to the electoral rules in the form now proposed do not meet democratic standards and therefore need considerable revision, taking the position of civil society into consideration.