Civil Network OPORA urges the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine and its ruling coalition not to support the latest initiative from a group of Ukrainian MPs to abandon the proportional electoral system with open lists and other achievements of electoral reform gained in recent years. If supported by the parliament, the election process will be based on outdated procedures, with an inefficient and corrupt electoral system. Therefore, it will disable the progress of political parties, intra-party democracy, and personalized voting.
Of particular concern is the comment by David Arahamiya, leader of the ruling Servant of the People party. He spoke of the possibility to postpone the Electoral Code provisions on parliamentary elections, which effectively overturns the achievements of his own political force and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in electoral reform.
On December 17, 2021, the People's Deputies of Ukraine from the "For the Future" group (Serhiy Minko, Oleksandr Herega, Viktor Myalyk, Dmytro Lubinets, Ihor Molotok, Yuriy Shapovalov) registered the draft Law of Ukraine "On Amendments to the Electoral Code of Ukraine" that resumes a mixed (proportional-majority) system for elections of people's deputies of Ukraine” (№6444).
In fact, the idea of deputies fits into several sentences: to provide that the provisions of the Electoral Code on elections of deputies of Ukraine apply only since 2027, while the next elections to the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine in 2023 will be held under the old Law of Ukraine "On Elections of People's Deputies of Ukraine". Thus, according to the group of majority deputies, the next parliamentary elections should be held under the current parallel electoral system, when half of the Council is elected on a proportional system with closed party lists, and the other half shall be formed by a majority election system in single-member constituencies. At the same time, the authors of the draft do not propose any other provisions than the abolition of the proportional electoral system with open lists. They only insist on restoring the old, discredited practice of the Law of Ukraine "On Elections of People's Deputies of Ukraine".
Key negative consequences of the possible adoption of the draft Law on the rejection of the proportional electoral system with open lists and the restoration of the outdated Law of Ukraine “On Elections of People's Deputies”:
- The Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine of the 9th convocation, the ruling coalition and the leader of the Servant of the People party Volodymyr Zelensky cancel the achievements of 2019-2020 on the introduction of a proportional electoral system with open lists, with unification and improvement of electoral procedures. Thus, they demonstrate the prevalence of shadow political interests in the process of policy-making.
- Ukrainian society and international partners are receiving a clear signal of the government's inconsistency in bringing electoral legislation in line with democratic standards, and the lack of political will to reform the electoral system and political parties.
- The next regular elections will be held not only under the old electoral system, but also on the basis of obsolete procedures of the Law of Ukraine "On Elections of People's Deputies", which does not take into account the progressive changes of recent years.
OPORA states that the government has enough time and all the necessary resources to hold regular elections to the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine on the basis of a proportional electoral system with open lists. In particular, political and public consensus on the proportional system with open lists has been built for years, and voters had the opportunity to test a similar electoral system in the recent local elections in 2020. In addition, the organization of parliamentary elections at the level of constituencies (oblasts) is simple and clear. Thus, the people's deputies of Ukraine have no reason to justify their political interests and electoral projections by the "complexity" of the electoral system.
Please, be reminded that the President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyi, stated during his inaugural speech that the parliament is obliged to adopt the Electoral Code and introduce a proportional system with open lists. Any political agreement to abandon open lists or prospects for its implementation will be perceived by society as a rejection of a clear political position at the beginning of his presidential office.