Parliamentary majority’s draft electoral law criticized
At a press conference on 28 October, the Civic Consortium of Electoral Initiatives gave a damning assessment of the draft law on the parliamentary elections put forward by the ruling majority. The press conference was addressed by Olha Aivazovska from OPORA; Svitlana Kononchuk from the Ukrainian Independent Political Research Centre; Viktor Kylymar from the web resource Elections in Ukraine; and Oleksandr Chernenko from the Committee of Voters of Ukraine [CUV].
They presented the results of a nationwide expert survey on Ukraine’s electoral legislation in which 500 people from 22 regions of the country took part. The respondents pointed to the greatest problems and issues in the draft laws on the parliamentary elections tabled and identified the main threats to a democratic course of the next elections.
Oleksandr Chernenko, Head of the Board of the Committee of Voters of Ukraine
In exactly a year Ukrainians will go to the polls yet already today we can make depressing predictions about the level of democracy and competition in the future electoral process. Our pessimism is based in the first instance on analysis of the draft Law on the Election of National Deputies which has been tabled by the parliamentary majority and will with a fair degree of certainty be adopted in the near future.
The non-transparent process in preparing the document and its content bear no scrutiny. Even without going into technical subtleties, it’s clear to the naked eye that some provisions of the draft law are in direct breach of the Constitution, while the electoral system which is proposed was not the result of public – political dialogue and consensus”.
Olha Aivazovska, Head of the OPORA Board: called the tabling by deputies from the ruling majority of the draft law overt provocation. The explanatory note, she pointed out, states that the draft law was prepared by the Working Group created by the President, yet it differs significantly with respect to a number of important norms from the original. “It transpires that the Venice Commission did not evaluate the draft law which the Verkhovna Rada will be considering. The significant changes pertain to the possibility of cancelling candidates’ registration, permission to stand for office both in a single-mandate majority constituency and in multi-mandate constituencies; inaccuracies regarding the requirements for marking out constituencies. National Deputies whom we did not once see at Working Group meetings are acting in breach of the text agreed by the President, and it is he who has the final word regarding the document.
Viktor Kylymar from the web resource Elections in Ukraine said that their survey was unique in having for the first time asked so many specialists directly involved in the election process: representatives of political parties, present and former members of electoral commissions; political analysts; legal experts; journalists. He said that the results showed that only one quarter of the respondents supported the mixed electoral system proposed by the parliamentary majority while almost 40% support an electoral system with open regional candidate lists.