The European Platform for Democratic Elections (EPDE) monitors the progress of electoral reform in Ukraine. Issue no. 11 of the “EPDE Policy Alert - Electoral Reform in Ukraine” gives an update on recent developments regarding the Draft Election Code which was approved by the Verkhovna Rada in the first reading in November 2017.
On March 11, the working group of the Parliamentary Committee on Legal Policy and Justice finished the consideration of all 4,296 proposed amendments to the Draft Election Code No. 3112-1. The Draft Election Code is now ready to be reviewed by the responsible Rada committee. Once the Committee on Legal Policy and Justice approves a finalized version of the Draft Election Code, the draft will be submitted to the Parliament for the second reading. The working group, which consists of 24 acting Members of Parliament and two experts, was established last year in April. According to EPDE member Civil Network OPORA, the working group held 43 meetings on a weekly basis.
The working group has only an advisory function and, therefore, no authority to submit any finalized amendments. It is still unknown whether the Committee on Legal Policy and Justice will accept the suggestions made by the working group. The Committee could also consider the amendments again. Moreover, amendments that will finally be rejected by the Committee can be again included in the Draft Election Code during the second reading in Parliament by reaching a simple majority. Ukraine’s parliamentary rules of procedure do not specify any deadlines for the further consideration of the draft law by either the Committee or the Parliament as a whole.
The Draft Election Code No. 3112-1 was registered in Parliament as early as October 2015 by the Speaker of the Verkhovna Rada Andriy Parubiy and Members of Parliament Oleksandr Chernenko (Bloc Petro Poroshenko) and Leonid Yemets (People’s Front). It was approved by the Ukrainian Parliament in the first reading in November 2017. The aim of the Draft Election Code is to harmonize Ukraine’s electoral legal framework. It advocates a proportional electoral system for parliamentary elections with open regional party lists. The harmonization of Ukraine’s electoral legal framework and the introduction of a proportional electoral system with open regional party lists is in line with long-standing recommendations of international organizations, above all the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe and the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR). This comprehensive reform of Ukraine’s electoral legal framework is also a long-lasting demand of the Ukrainian civil society.
This issue is part of a series of EPDE Policy Alerts to inform relevant stakeholders and decision makers in Ukraine, the European Union, and globally about reforms in the field of electoral legislation, the composition and performance of the election administration, and the positioning of the main political forces in Ukraine. Please feel free to forward and share our analysis.
EPDE is financially supported by the European Union and the Federal Foreign Office of Germany. The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the donors.