Reform success: Verkhovna Rada votes to reduce monetary deposit for Local elections
On April 30, 2020, in a positive development, the Verkhovna Rada voted to significantly lower the monetary deposit for candidates to oblast councils and councils in cities with more than 90,000 voters. The size of the monetary deposit for candidacy to these councils will be reduced by 90 percent - from four minimum monthly salaries for every 10,000 voters in the respective oblast or city to four minimum monthly salaries for every 90,000 voters. The introduction of this amendment to the Election Code was supported by MPs with 248 votes from all Rada factions.
This decision followed broad criticism that these deposits in the new Election Code were too high. Such a high deposit would act as a barrier to candidacy and potentially favor wealthy candidates or candidates supported by wealthy donors. Supporters of maintaining the status quo have argued that deposits have to be set high to exclude non-serious candidates.
During the discussion of draft law No. 2769 amending the Election Code on April 22, members of the Rada Committee for State Building, Local Self-Governance and Regional and Urban also expressed support for the idea that all candidates for other local councils down to amalgamated community level should pay reasonably low election deposits to stand for election. Supporters of this emphasized that a deposit would minimize the number of “technical” candidates who do not run for elections with the intent to get elected, but rather because this entitles them to seats on election commissions that they can then trade. This and other proposed amendments to the electoral legal framework are expected to be presented soon as part of a last overhaul of the Election Code before local elections later this year.
IFES Ukraine and Civil Network OPORA advocated for this reform in their 2020 Roadmap for reforms which you can find below.