OPORA critical of “atypical” geography and more in CEC electoral district distribution
On 28 April the Central Election Commission issued Resolution No. 82 which creates 225 single-mandate electoral districts.
The Civic Network OPORA writes in its report that the CEC approach could complicate organization of the elections.
“Atypical geography places the exercising of free possibilities for all candidates and parties in doubt.”
It points out that current legislation does not set clear criteria for the creation of single-mandate electoral districts.
OPORA welcomes the immediate publication of the CEC Resolution which was within the timeframe demanded.
CEC has followed the principle of equal number of voters.
“However, OPORA expresses concern over the potential threats which could arise as the result of the territorial organization of the elections in some districts, including making organization of the elections more difficult and not fully observing the principle of equal opportunities for all candidates and parties.”
Some newly-created districts are much larger in distance and area than those of 2002 and OPORA says that the principle of equality of numbers without taking geography and administrative features into account has led to “atypical electoral geography of certain districts”.
Changes to the boundaries and administrative centres have breached logic, while places previously within the same district are now split up.
“There are not just isolated cases where electoral districts have been created with territory which is not adjacent, or where administrative units have been created whose territory passes through another district.
“Of concern are cases where one sees political motives in the creation of electoral districts with atypical configuration. For example, the formation of the district coincides with the previous political activeness of a candidate, or on the contrary, where a territory is unexpectedly split up where for a long time a candidate with high rating had been working”.
OPORA believes that the introduction of a mixed system with a majority system element has lead to equivocal approaches to forming districts in some regions and suggests that this could have been avoided through clearer legislation, as wells as referendums and public discussion with regard to boundary divisions.