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09.08.2013

Ukraine ignores most recommendations on electoral legislation

   

The Justice Ministry has ignored most of the Venice Commission’s recommendations on changes to electoral legislation. Of ten suggestions from the Venice Commission on improvements in legislation, only two have been fully taken into account.  It is proposed to oblige parties to introduce quotas for women in their candidate lists and to reduce the maximum number of voters at polling stations from 2.5 thousand to 2 thousand.

The relevant draft law on amendments to some laws on improving legislation on the elections has been put forward for public discussion for the second time. The document was first made public back in April after it received a preliminary assessment from the Venice Commission.

The Justice Ministry asserts that the document was refined “in accordance with the joint opinion of the Venice Commission and the OSCE, and the results of public discussion.

Yet as mentioned, of 10 recommendations note has been taken only of criticism regarding the lack of measures to ensure more active participation by women in the elections; and the excessive maximum number of voters at a polling station.

The opposition is critical.  Volodymyr Bondarenko from the Batkivshchyna faction says that the Justice Ministry has focused only on what suited it. The main requirements have not been considered, these including criticism over the formation of election commissions and the lack of open candidate lists. Many of the points raised by the Venice Commission were highlighted by the large elections, including the need to envisage a situation where the Central Election Committee can not establish the outcome.

Kommersant notes that the Justice Ministry has as usual not taken into consideration the main issues raised by European institutions – criticism of a mixed electoral system; restriction of the right of people with convictions to be elected; and the lack of an Election Code. The Venice Commission was also critical of the lack of representation in election commissions of independent candidates and parties not represented in parliament.  There is also no independent monitoring of the financing of election campaigns. 

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