On May 18, the official working group held its fourth meeting, dedicated to consideration of amendments to the Election Code. The meeting was attended by 5 current MPs, who are members of the working group, – Olena Boiko, Olena Ledovskykh, Ihor Popov, Ruslan Sydorovych, Oleksandr Chernenko. Besides that, co-author of another draft election code Viktor Zalizniuk, a few assistants to MPs, and NGO representatives were also present.

The group has considered articles 101-104 inclusive, which concern the following topics: taking oaths by commission members, remuneration, term of office, early withdrawal, substitution of commission members, organization of their work, meetings, decision-making, and the right to attend meetings. The articles include amendments 497-561. In particular, amendments concerning the presence of MPs on the meetings of election commissions, and early withdrawal of precinct election commission members if they are absent for an hour during the vote count process, were also rejected. These amendments could have hazarded the functioning of election commission if adopted. However, the working group supported an amendment canceling the general recognition of local election as void.

Besides that, one of the most important issues discussed was a quorum for meetings of election commissions. Members of the working group decided that demanding two thirds of membership may cause complications for commission activities. Thus, they agreed it's reasonable to establish mandatory 50%+1 attendance, as is established in the effective legislation.

According to Legal Advisor of the Civil Network OPORA Olha Kotsiuruba, the situation with information openness may worsen, because the working group has rejected an amendment concerning publication of general information about appeals and complaints. “The current legislation and amendments to the Election Code from Samopomich established a mandatory publication of general information about appeals and complaints submitted to commissions, as well as the results of their consideration. Today, they are obliged to place such information on an official information board and send to the Central Election Commission. Such regulation allows fast and effective monitoring of these appeals and complaints, as well as the results of their consideration. However, the working group has rejected such amendment to the Election Code, what affects the situation with informing of the public,” – she emphasized.

The next meeting is planned to be held on 25 May, 1:00 PM.

We would like to remind that this working group doesn't have a regulation for its activities and, therefore, there is no quorum or voting. However, it is important that each member attends the meetings, to consider all 4400 as soon as possible and further the consideration of Election Code.

Based on the consideration results, the working group will provide its recommendations to the VRU Committee on Judicial Policy and Justice. The Committee, for its part, will consider on its meeting the recommendations and give its opinion on the draft Election Code for the second reading in Parliament.

It should be mentioned, that 251 amendments were considered by the group of Sub-committee on Elections and Referendums of the VRU Committee on Judicial Policy and Justice. The previous consideration of amendments in this group started on 21 December. On 28 February, VRU Committee on Judicial Policy and Justice had approved the working group to prepare draft Election Code of Ukraine for the second reading (#3112-1). On the second meeting, held on 4 April, the membership of this official working group was approved. It has 24 persons, including 22 current MPs and two experts, who participated in the development of other draft Election Codes.

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