Statement ahead of Parliament's consideration of changes to Electoral Code
The Ukrainian Parliament is expected to consider proposals of changes to the Electoral Code made by the President of Ukraine this week, 3-6 December. Civil Network OPORA calls on parliamentarians to make use of procedural possibilities to fine-tune the text of the document. In particular, the parliamentary committee is recommended to hold another meeting before the Code is considered by the Parliament of Ukraine. This would allow for a discussion of controversial issues in the document, the consideration of proposals from deputy factions and the public, as well as an official approval of the final version of proposals to the Code. These steps of the committee would help provide legality and inclusivity in the preparation of the Electoral Code for review.
OPORA identifies the following critical shortcomings in the proposed version of the Electoral Code:
- Excessive expansion of grounds for rejecting registration of candidates or cancellation of their registration
- Legal uncertainty and excessiveness of certain powers of the CEC
- The Code ignores the remarks from the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyi on protection of voting rights of persons with disabilities
- Efficient guarantees for equality of two genders in electoral process are not provided in the Electoral Code
- Risks of the selected approach to professionalization of election commissions of lower levels (DEC, TEC, PEC)
- Unjustified expansion of grounds for commissions to reject the complaints for breaches of the law
- New proposals on regulating pre-election campaigning and political advertising delete advanced provisions from the previous version of the Code
- Shortcomings in information support of elections, undue conditions for control and observation over elections
Summarizing recommendations: The committee of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine on Organization of Public administration, Local Self-Governance, Regional Development and Urban Planning should hold an additional meeting preceding the review of the Code in the plenary session, with the purpose to:
- eliminate critical shortcomings prepared by the Committee for Proposals to the Code;
- duly take into account the positions of deputy factions and groups, and the public;
- comply with the requirements of the Regulations when approving the final version of the comparative table to the Electoral Code.