THE VERKHOVNA RADA HAS ADOPTED THE ELECTORAL CODE OF UKRAINE IN A NEW EDITION, WHICH PROVIDES FOR THE RIGHT OF PARTICIPATION OF INTERNALLY DISPLACED PERSONS IN LOCAL ELECTIONS
The Verkhovna Rada on Thursday re-examined and adopted a new Electoral Code with proposals by the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky.
The corresponding decision was supported by 330 people's deputies with the minimum required 226, according to a Ukrinform correspondent.
The Head of State expressed in his proposals a number of comments on the provisions of the Electoral Code, in particular, regarding the definition of the system for holding elections of people's deputies, city mayors with a number of voters of 90 000 or more, as well as the groundlessness of the citizen's loss of the status as a subject of the electoral process in connection with the cancellation of his registration as candidate.
At the same time, Zelensky emphasized the absence in the document of the rules governing the mechanism for replacing a candidate for a deputy with a candidate of the same gender in the event of cancelling the registration of a candidate for deputy at the request of the party (organization of the party) that nominated such a candidate.
Also, in his proposals, the President draws attention to ensuring the implementation of electoral rights by certain categories of persons (internally displaced persons and persons with disabilities).
He emphasized the need to follow the same approaches to determining the residency qualification for candidates for the post of President and candidates for people's deputies, the formation of the composition of district election commissions authorized to organize the preparation and conduct of presidential elections, the participation of non-governmental organizations in election observation and their right to appeal in court decisions, actions or inaction of state authorities, and their officials.
The Head of State drew the attention of the Parliament to the norm for restricting the right of political parties to nominate candidates in national elections if such a party does not have its own local organizations registered in less than 14 administrative-territorial units.
In addition, he noted inconsistencies with the norms of the Constitution empowering members of the Central Election Commission with certain new powers, preventing a decrease in the percentage barrier of votes received by the state elections and candidates for the mayor’s position to refund the security deposit, as well as to reimburse parties that based on the election results did not receive the right to participate in the distribution of deputy mandates, costs associated with financing their election campaign.
At the same time, Zelensky emphasized the specifics of regulating the legal status of the chairman, deputy chairman and secretary of the election commission of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, determining the subject of control over the correct and targeted use of the funds of the State Budget of Ukraine allocated for the preparation and conduct of national elections, bringing them in accordance with the law “On public procurement” of the Code Regulations that govern the procurement of goods, works and services from budgetary funds for preparation and conduct of the election.
In addition, the President’s proposals also refer to the responsibility of the media for committing a repeated or one-time gross violation of the requirements of the Code, in the event that a court establishes the fact of such a violation, as well as the need to agree on certain provisions of the document, taking into account already adopted legislative acts aimed at improving the electoral process legislation.
The Head of State drew attention to the neglect of recommendations of international experts on the results of observation of election campaigns, in particular, the introduction of restrictions on campaign costs, the procedure for holding midterm elections of People's Deputies of Ukraine elected in single-member districts, and the replacement of People's Deputies of Ukraine elected in a nationwide constituency whose powers were terminated early, elected prior to entry into force of this code.
In his proposals to the Code, the President also stated that the list of comments was not exhaustive.
According to Ukrinform, the deputy chairman of the Verkhovna Rada Committee on State Building, Local Governance, Regional and Urban Development, Oleksandr Kachura, in a comment to Ukrinform, explained that the Head of State’s claim to this document concerned the electoral system, and therefore the President’s amendments aimed at simplifying it for population.
The updated Electoral Code was adopted on July 11, 2019 by the Verkhovna Rada of the VIII convocation. It provides for the introduction of a proportional electoral system with open party lists in the elections of people's deputies, as well as a change in the electoral system in local elections.
On August 27, then Verkhovna Rada Chairman Andriy Parubiy, signed the new Electoral Code.
However, on September 13, President Zelensky vetoed the document, arguing that the code contains provisions that did not comply with the Constitution, do not take into account recent amendments to the electoral legislation, did not comply with the legislative acts, which are basic in the relevant field, did not provide proper regulation and organization of election process, effective monitoring of the implementation of election procedures.
Subsequently, the Head of State sent his proposals to the Verkhovna Rada for their inclusion in the Electoral Code.