Opora
Civil Network OPORA calls on the Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine and the VRU Committee on Judicial Policy and Justice to guarantee the preparation of draft Election Code (#3112-1) on the basis of openness and transparency standards, in line with the regulations, and with consideration of expert suggestions from non-governmental organizations.

Taking into consideration that draft Election Codes have not been discussed in 2014-2015, the MPs should abstain from making any non-systemic amendments and propositions to the draft Election Code, which have already been adopted in the first reading, without prior discussion and coordination with deputy factions and groups. Many amendments, made by MPs individually to the draft Election Code, which are not discussed or supported by their factions or groups, must not become a reason for slowing down the law-making process.  On the contrary, only a thorough discussion at the level of competent committee, deputy factions and groups, can guarantee a successful adoption of the draft Election Code, and is a sign of systematic amendment of electoral legislation.

OPORA would like to draw attention of VRU Committee on Judicial Policy and Justice, which is responsible for preparation of the Code to the second reading, that it's necessary to take into consideration the problems, which appeared during the first local elections in UTCs, held in 2016-2017. The drawbacks of current legislation, organizational difficulties and misuses, detected during the first local elections, are important for verification of innovations in the future electoral legislation.   Thus, leadership of the Parliament and VRU committees should urgently discuss the drawbacks in the process of uniting the territorial communities, as well as scheduling, organization and conduct of the first local elections.

Civil Network OPORA welcomes Parliament's adoption of the draft Election Code (#3112-1) as a basis, which reflects many recommendations given by the competent international and national organizations. In particular, after adoption of the draft Code in the first reading, parliamentary factions of political parties have received a real opportunity to prove their commitment to introduce an open-list proportional representation electoral system for parliamentary elections in Ukraine, and make systemic improvements of electoral procedures.  Preparation of the draft Code to the second reading should secure conceptual integrity of the document, harmonization of its regulations, and removal of out-of-date or contradictory norms. Besides that, it's essential to improve the legislation in such a way to guarantee the liability for violations of electoral rights of citizens, while the certainty of punishment principle is not secured in Ukraine to the fullest extent. Another issue, which requires systemic regulation, is electoral rights of internally displaced persons and other internal mobile groups of citizens.

Reference:

Draft Election Code (#3112-1) establishes an open-list proportional representation electoral system for election of MPs of Ukraine, elections to the Verkhovna Rada of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, oblast councils, city councils of Kyiv and Sevastopol, and city councils comprising more than 90,000 voters.

Elections to raion, village, settlement, raion in a city, and city councils (in cities having less than 90,000) voters are planned to be held under the majoritarian electoral system of a relative majority in multi-mandate election districts. Each electoral district can elect from 1 to 4 councilors, but each voter can vote only once. If a multi-mandate district, for example, elects 3 councilors, the winners are going to be the first three candidates having the highest number of voters.

The draft Code suggest to hold election of village, settlement, and city heads under the majoritarian system of relative majority. The cities having 90 and more thousand voters, are the exception.  In big cities, a candidate is considered to be elected either if he gains more than 50% of valid votes, or if he gains less than 50% of valid votes, but his result is 20% bigger than of the next candidate with the biggest number of votes. In any other case, a repeat vote is scheduled for election of city mayor.

We would like to remind that on Tuesday, 7 November, the Verkhovna Rada adopted the draft Election Code #3112-1 as a basis. 226 deputies supported the decision: Petro Poroshenko Bloc faction – 68; People's Front faction – 56; Opposition Bloc faction – 26; Samopomich faction – 20; Batkivshchyna faction – 13; Radical Party of Oleh Liashko faction – 14; “Vidrodzhennia” group of MPs– 1; Volia Narodu group of MPs – 2; non-faction MPs – 26.

102 MPs voted for the draft Election Code #3112 (V. Pysarenko): Petro Poroshenko Bloc faction – 23; People's Front faction – 6;  non-faction MPs – 16; Opposition Bloc faction – 21; “Vidrodzhennia” group of MPs – 16; Samopomich faction – 0; Batkivshchyna faction – 10; Radical Party of Oleh Liashko faction – 2; Volia Narodu group of MPs – 8.

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