Opora

The Central Election Commission will have the certain challenges before the presidential and parliamentary elections and, therefore, it should gain some trust now. This thesis was aired on consultations “Top priority steps for a new CEC, or how to gain the trust”, held on Friday, 28 September.

3 of 16 members of the Central Election Commission participated in the event, as well as representatives of Ukrainian and international organizations, and embassies.

According to Head of the Board of Civil Network OPORA Olha Aivazovska, it was often mentioned in public and closed discussions that a new CEC should advocate for institutional innovations, changes in electoral legislation and election processes.

“We believe that it's really important to gain some trust for this body, taking into consideration a great amount of conflicts around its protracted renewal, as well as around the nominees. The trust is openness to the expectations of experts and civil society, it's transparency and accountability of activities. There is very little time till elections and this trust must be rebuilt after so many conflicts around the reelection,” – Olha Aivazovska said.

 

Head of the Advocacy Department at the Reanimation Package of Reforms Andrii Hevko added that proactive position and professionalism of new CEC members can make the Parliament's decisions more competent.

“Taking into consideration the upcoming presidential and parliamentary elections, we are facing challenges in Commission's activities. We know that the Election Code is being developed now in the Committee. The Working group, which considers amendments, have already held 19 meetings. It is important that new membership of the CEC joined these efforts,” – Andrii Hevko said.

According to the Director of the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) in Ukraine Peter Erben, the CEC can't be responsible for the realization of some vital reforms, but there are many other things where the very CEC can help.

“We hope that a new CEC membership will modernize the Commission as an institution and the election process as a whole. We also hope that the CEC will make a revolution in public diplomacy and develop into a modern, transparent and consultative body. We want to see a CEC, which restores the trust of Ukrainian elections through its openness, becoming a basis for democracy in this gorgeous country,” – Mr. Erben said.

The Road Map for CEC Reform, developed by the civil society, was also presented on the event.

“I believe that all potential friends of the future Central Election Commission attending this event today will assist it in realization of these steps, help with resources, ideas, experts, because it's important to attract experts with global views and experience,” – Olha Aivazovska said.

In particular, internal CEC reforms should include:

  • Introduction of a long-term and operative planning of CEC's activities
  • Guaranteeing the transparency and inclusiveness of CEC's activities
  • Guaranteeing cyber safety on elections
  • Raising professionalism in election administration
  • Decentralization of CEC's responsibilities
  • Optimization of communication with stakeholders
  • Improvement of procedures for the settlement of electoral disputes
  • Strengthening CEC's role in advancement of electoral legislation reform

CEC members, for their part, should prioritize activities for a new membership of the Central Election Commission.

“I urge the colleagues to call on our legislative body to finally create electoral legislation, fitting the needs of Ukraine. We strive for fundamental legislation to use in our work,”Kateryna Makhnitska said.

“Key tasks are the following: safety, cyber safety, safety of election commissions, safety of tabulation. The second priority is building the trust between the Central Election Commission and other subjects of electoral process. The third – making the CEC more competent. There are also ideas we mentioned concerning the expert council,” Leonid Shypilov said.

“The first thing I would do, and it could be a great topic for the first meeting of the expect council, – is making a list of threats, which may wait for Ukraine before the Presidential election, deciding on the ways to response to these threats, and the price of a delayed response. This is how we could establish communication between other government bodies in an effective and fast way,”Yevhen Radchenko added.

The attending representatives of Ukrainian and international organizations and embassies shared their propositions and wishes concerning activities of a renewed membership of the CEC.

“I would like to see another attitude to the CEC. It should be a trust, and I believe it is possible to gain it without stopping the idea, which time has come,” – stated the Science and Development Director of the Civil Society Institute Anatolii Tkachuk.

“I think the CEC lacked for all these years not only a more active position about the creation of expert councils, but also about some controversial issues, when it could make a clear statement or recommendation for all electoral stakeholders,” – said the Director of Centre for Democracy and Rule of Law Taras Shevchenko.

“The old scheme, when only a few CEC members out of 15 or 17 are ready to cooperate with mass media, the public or other electoral subjects, will not work today. The CEC's renewal was scandalous due to political reasons, and it should make every effort now not even to restore the trust, but at least to be accepted by potential candidates and social groups,” – added OPORA's Analyst Oleksandr Kliuzhev.

OSCE Project Co-ordinator in Ukraine Yevhen Poberezhnyi suggested the following steps for a new membership of the CEC:

“These are simple and steps to summarize its own activities after each election and develop some kind of expertise. Unfortunately, the Central Election Commission is very inactive in this aspect.”

Executive Director of HRUPA VPLYVU Civil Holding Tetiana Durnieva said she expects steps towards securing electoral rights of citizens, whose election address belong to temporarily occupied territories.

Representative of non-governmental organizations also shared their expectations to hold the next discussion in the Central Election Commission, with its members open for a dialog.

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