Today, on September 13, 2019, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine implemented a political agreement on early dissolution of the CEC. 341 MPs of Ukraine voted for this decision.
On the eve of the vote, OPORA stated that there was no sound basisfor the President and Parliament to apply Article 31(1) of the Law of Ukraine on the Central Election Commission, which provides the possibility to dissolve the entire CEC. President's claims concerning inaction of the CEC do not contain direct evidence that the CEC violated voting rights of citizens, as interpreted by the legislation of Ukraine.
We want to emphasize that politically motivated rotation of CEC members is against international election administration standards and Ukrainian legislation establishing seven-year term of office for CEC members. While there are legal possibilities to early dissolve the CEC, its political independence and stability are in question. Political motives in the use of legislation gaps are obvious now and have been repeatedly demonstrated in previous rotations of the CEC.
Taking into account the approval of President's move by Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, OPORA demands that the President of Ukraine, the Parliament, parliamentary factions and groups:
- Ensure a transparent and inclusive nomination of candidates from parliamentary factions and groups to the President of Ukraine.
- Ensure that nominees from all parliamentary factions and groups are included in new membership of the CEC on the basis of absolute or proportional equality. Such approach is in line with generally recognized democratic standards for the formation of higher election administration bodies and should ensure the professional balance of the CEC, as well as trust to its future activities (in particular, compliance with paragraph 75 of the Code of Good Practice in Electoral Matters).
- Undertake public commitments to improve the legislation regulating activities of the Central Election Commission, including appointment and termination of authority.
It is necessary to abolish Law regulations allowing to dissolve the entire CEC, to ensure detailed procedure of consultations concerning the nomination of CEC members between the President of Ukraine and the Parliament, and to guarantee inclusion of nominees from each all parliamentary faction and group at the legislative level. It is also important to regulate peculiarities of the termination of powers of CEC members when their term of office expires.
OPORA is convinced that new political resignations of CEC members will likely happen, if the Parliament and the President don't improve legislation regulating the CEC. This is a vital step towards a genuine independence of the CEC.
In the process of CEC rotation, decision makers should pay attention to the need for implementation of the Road Map for CEC Reform,which was developed and published yet in 2018.
According to the Law of Ukraine on the Central Election Commission, parliamentary factions in the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine shall submit proposals to the President of Ukraine not later than the next day after the CEC is dissolved. Based on these proposals, the President of Ukraine shall, within three days, submit to the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine submission on membership of the CEC.