Deputy CEC Head: Constitutional Court ruling restricts citizens’ constitutional rights
The Deputy Head of the Central Election Commission Zhanna Usenko-Chorna considers the Constitutional Court [CCU] judgement prohibiting voters abroad from voting in single-majority constituencies to effectively cancel such voters’ right to vote according to majority system constituencies.
She says that a whole range of questions arise regarding the relation between this CCU Judgement and a number of provisions of Ukraine’s Constitution, for example, Article 24 which clearly states that citizens have equal constitutional rights and cannot face restrictions on the basis of their place of residence.
She adds that the Judgement’s compatibility with Article 22 of the Constitution is also questionable. “According to Article 22 of the Constitution, citizens’ electoral rights are guaranteed and cannot be revoked or restricted. Yet we have a situation where this right has been restricted.”
Ms Usenko-Chorna points out that on all previous occasions when the Verkhovna Rada elections took place with majority constituencies, Ukrainian nationals abroad took part in the voting. This CCU judgement thus places the legitimacy of those elections in question.
She believes that the issue of voting abroad according to majority constituencies needs to be regulated at legislative level.
On Thursday 5 April the Constitutional Court announced its judgement with respect to the article of the Law on the Parliamentary Elections which indicated that in all polling stations outside Ukraine voters would case votes for single-mandate constituencies in Kyiv. The CCU has now stated that voters abroad may only vote according to party lists. As reported, in a decision much criticized by the Council of Europe’s Venice Commission and both international and Ukrainian NGOs working for fair elections, the parliamentary elections will take place according to the 50-50 mixed system favoured by the Party of the Regions: This is described in the Venice Commission Opinion as a mixed proportional-plurality (majoritarian) electoral system, where 50 percent of the MPs (National Deputies) are elected through political party lists in a single nationwide constituency and the other half are elected in single mandate constituencies (first past the post, one round).
Ms Usenko-Chorna’s comments are reported at http://un.ua/ukr/article/384056.html