New election law from ruling majority tabled in parliament
On the same day that the Justice Ministry announced that it had sent the final version of the draft Law on the Parliamentary Elections to the Council of Europe’s Venice Commission, a draft bill No. 9265-1 was registered in the house. This bill, which is not yet posted on the official website, was apparently submitted by a number of MPs from the parties in the ruling majority, including the Head of the Party of the Regions faction in the Verkhovna Rada, Oleksandr Yefremov.
The Justice Ministry informs that it has sent the final version of the draft law on the election of National Deputies to the Council of Europe’s Venice Commission. The report states that the draft law was refined taking into consideration previous comments from the Venice Commission.
Oleksandr Lavrynovych, the Justice Minister also informs that the Commission’s final opinion will be considered and passed at a meeting of the Venice Commission on 14-15 October.
He states that most of the Commission’s recommendations were taken into consideration. However, “the members of the Working Group unanimously agreed that two proposals from the Venice Commission on possible steps for improving the draft bill cannot be taken into account in view of their lack of compliance with the Constitution”
As reported, by no means all agree with this assessment of the Working Group’s role. At a press conference on 28 September the Civic Consortium of Electoral Initiatives addressed the question of whether the Working Group on Improving Electoral Legislation had taken into consideration the preliminary recommendations of the Venice Commission, OSCE and IFES. The press conference was given by Olha Aivazovska from OPORA; Denis Kovryzhenko from the Laboratory of Legislative Initiatives; Svitlana Kononchuk from the Ukrainian Independent Political Research Centre and Oleksandr Chernenko from the Committee of Voters of Ukraine [CUV].
These are just some of the comments.
Olha Aivazovska, Head of the OPORA Board:
“Announcing broad expert discussion, the President took electoral reform beyond parliament, yet there has still been no discussion as such of the proposed majority-proportional system. This tendency undermines the legitimacy of the process and arouses distrust in its results. The official conclusions from the Venice Commission will not be available before the middle of October, so at the last meeting of the Working Group, the reassessment of the draft bill’s text was carried out hurriedly and on the basis of a “rough draft”. The Venice Commission experts have on a number of occasions stated that the final document will only be prepared after broad consultation in Ukraine. Taking part in the [Working Group] meeting, I got the impression that positive statistics were being offered: a considerable percentage of technical and minor suggestions taken into account while the key issues were totally ignored”.
Oleksandr Chernenko, Head of the Committee of Voters of Ukraine
“The amendments made on 27 September by the Working Group to the technical draft law are of a cosmetic nature. The issue of the electoral system was again left out of the discussion, although the recommendations from the Venice Commission indicate the advisability of introducing a proportional system of open regional lists. In Ukraine there has not been public dialogue regarding the electoral system. They again want to foist a system which was discredited during the previous electoral campaigns”.
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