The Verkhovna Rada voted in first reading the draft Election code of open party lists – unexpectedly both for the authorities and for companies. Now the government decides what to do with it. The sides LIGA.net the parties in power are sure that the chance to adopt the code in its present form is minimal, otherwise the policy will harm themselves. The West insists that the time for electoral reform has come – the ambassadors of the G7 countries are expecting from the Parliament in a “transparent, inclusive and consultative process” of preparation for the second reading. Who resists and why – in the material LIGA.net.
A positive vote for the Electoral code was for the majority of the deputies, primarily from the coalition, as a complete surprise. Before doing this they have consistently failed several bills on elections and the draft code from Valery Pisarenko (Revival) – it was supported by 102 deputies. Therefore, when the draft Election code of the authorship of Alexander Chernenko (PPB), Andrew Parubiy and Leonid Yemets (people’s front) on the scoreboard flashed figure 226, all, to put it mildly, surprised.
“Know that, as in the joke: they went nuts. We as a faction were interested in this bill in first reading was voted. There Parubiy, Yemets. We need to vote? Needs. And it so happened that our position was supported by all the rest”, – the interlocutor told LIGA.net in the popular front.
What to do with this Deputy’s further surprise, the coalition has not yet decided. Despite campaign promises of the so-called democratic part of Parliament to open the party lists for voters, no amount of discussion on this occasion was not conducted for two years. “I want to understand how this story alive… Well silly: first, did and then got scared of what I did” – said the source LIGA.net in the faction of the BPP.
The Parliament adopted the draft was submitted to the Parliament in October 2015. Its prototype is written much earlier: in 2010, the author made in the past MP Yuriy Klyuchkovsky. The document consists of 444 pages.
“There is an assumption that almost no one else read” – are recognized in the NF. The BPP added: “they Say if you want to bury the case – take the code. But the Parliament failed all specific laws on the electoral system. And there was only two codes: Pisarenko and second, where the authors Chernenko, Yemets. Had to vote”.
The essence of the project: quick facts
If it is very simplistic outline 444-page document, he introduces in Ukraine the electoral system with open party lists and the concept of regional districts. The main changes will affect the elections to the Parliament. What does this mean in practice?
Now, 225 members are elected to the Verkhovna Rada on a mazhoritarka – one for the County. Another 225 are held according to party lists that voters can not influence in any way they can. The draft code proposes to abolish the majoritarian constituencies, and party lists – open.
This means that the party will continue to be a nationwide list of contenders for the mandate. But on the ground in ballots will only include those candidates who represent a specific district. The voter will have to vote for the party and for one of its candidates, thus their ratinga. Candidates with the highest number of votes will go to the Verkhovna Rada and the leader of the party to influence it can not.
The number of districts also reduced, to 27, for the district to the area. With the exception of Kyiv and Dnipropetrovsk oblast (two), and the Crimea, on the contrary, will unite with the Kherson region. That is, the candidates from the Crimea and Sevastopol will be elected to the Verkhovna Rada in the Kherson district. And this causes some confusion in the coalition.
“What kind of elections in Kherson for voters from Crimea? – said the Deputy head of the faction PPO Sergey Berezenko, for Example, the situation with the Crimean Tatars. It is necessary that the Verkhovna Rada had their representatives – Dzhemilev, Chubarov? Now, they are by this law will never become deputies. Why in Kherson people should choose Dzhemilev first in the regional lists? All these people are no longer MPs.”
The pros and criticism
“It was a surprise for everyone – for experts and the MPs, but we made quite a serious step forward. It unifies a number of different electoral arrangements for the elections at different levels. Of the five laws we get one, where everything is structured clearer and clearer. It will relieve us from part of the electoral Orgy,” suggested in the comments LIGA.net the head of Committee of voters of Ukraine Oleksiy Koshel.
According to him, the code stipulates a more progressive electoral system. “It’s not just the change mechanisms or voting rules. Worse, we will get a solid base, which allows you to change the palette of the party, will contribute to the strengthening of the role and influence of parties. A very important thing,” he said.
System with open lists allows voters to vote for political power, and for a particular candidate in political power. This creates a certain barrier to offensive policy had the least chances for passage in Parliament. Although there are nuances: for example, the low level of political culture and a high level of corruption in the elections. Therefore, at this stage, the impact will not be so large, but in the future the system can show high efficiency.
Another plus is that the voter will have a real opportunity to influence the rotation of seats in the electoral list. Partially (though not completely) lose their meaning technology bribery and trading places in the electoral lists. “At least we won’t be able to see such blatant trading when the media announce the number of millions of dollars for passage in the list, or when there are personal security guards and drivers, that is, the dedicated people of the rich party members. It pros,” said Koshel.
Experts positively evaluate and mandatory training for members of election commissions: will be 80-90% less mess on the sites as in the last election in GSS, where the “incompetent members of the election commissions were so high that they even allowed themselves a pen to make edits to the newsletter or to take an absurd decision”.
However, the draft Electoral code there are many comments, and this is natural, since it was developed seven or eight years ago, says the Purse: “Much outdated, a lot of gaps. But we can fix them before the second reading”.
First minus: draft Election code does not provide for a complete ban of political advertising. While there is registered only a slight compromise to limit television commercials a three-minute period of time. “It is an imitation of solving the problems,” says Purse. Today Ukraine holds the record for the expenditure of funds for election campaign among the European States. For the Ukrainian political parties elections cost two to three times more expensive than for the Polish elections to the Sejm. Official reports of the parties suggests that 70 to 90 percent of the funds they spend on direct advertising. “If the party, relatively speaking, to turn off the TV, radio and billboards, we will see a real reduction in the cost of election campaigns in three to five times. For me, this rule banning advertising is no less important than changing the electoral legislation in General. This means cheaper elections, in which all are equal, that is – the real way to deoligarchization of the Ukrainian policy”, – explained in CVU.
Second minus: the proposed Parliament the system only partially solves the global problem of voter bribery. The technology of vote-buying, carousel, the food sets are not going anywhere. Therefore, experts suggest that in parallel to amend a number of other legislative acts: possible to specify in detail the concept of voter bribery and to give law enforcement all the tools for a rapid response.
Third minus: the project does not envisage a possibility of electronic vote counting from the polling station to the CEC. Although the election Commission has painted such a concept. The idea is that the data from the polling station after voting, automatically, electronically, transferred to the CEC. Then the country within a few hours will be able to see the election results with 99% probability. The fundamental point – the use of electronic mechanisms should be duplicated paper, as the risk of cyber-attacks on the part of Russia is extremely large.
Fourth drawback: the Electoral code should provide for at least partial reform of the CEC. Rotation of members of the Commission are not sufficient, considers the Purse: “Give a small example. In 2017 there were a few scandals that ended in criminal cases, with the election of rectors. This mechanism is not less corrupt than the electoral mechanisms. It is necessary to expand the powers of the CEC, for example, that they engaged not only in local and nationwide elections, but also elections in the system of higher education. Like Georgia, where the CEC is even the election of school Directors”.
In this part there is no progress. For two years the President and Parliament not even able to simply replace the expired part of the CEC not to review its powers and to enlarge the circle of responsibilities. “No news yet. Our information that we had on November 17, is still relevant,” said LIGA.net Olga aivazovska, head of OPORA, which for many years engaged in the electoral processes in Ukraine. The SUPPORT staff of the Verkhovna Rada said that after June 3, 2016 new views from the President on nominations to the CEC was not reported.
According to LIGA.net the rotation process, the CEC may begin even in this political season, but a final agreement on this issue the parties have not reached.
“I think, for the CEC the most correct variant – to include all factions and all groups. And while they are not all represented. It is believed that it may be in December. What’s the problem? Candidates brought by the President. For this President to conduct consultations. What is it? It is possible to consult and nothing to negotiate. (In the future) is important to set out a clear approach: how is the CEC. And now for the President’s decision, whether all fractions can be represented. If not all, it will cause a serious storm in Parliament and outside it”, – said the source in the popular front.
Network SUPPORT acquired jointly with the International Foundation for electoral systems IFES and submitted to the Parliament through MPs 178 amendments to the draft Electoral code. One of them: the President should consider in the representation of members of the Central election Commission of the positions of all factions and groups of Parliament, and delayed the CEC members are unable to participate in the meetings of the Commission.
The amendments also ensure the electoral rights of persons with disabilities – for example, the use of stencils in Braille for voting, prohibit political advertising on television, radio and external media, and campaigning through the distribution of the constituents of the food sets and spirits.
Whether the adopted Electoral code in the second reading, in what form and when, the coalition has not yet decided. According LIGA.net on Tuesday afternoon, the last day of the filing of the amendment, the leader of the popular front Arseniy Yatsenyuk traveled to the speaker of the Parliament Paruby to coordinate edits and position.
Commenting on the prospects of the project, and the veterans operates on data of recent opinion polls. About 30% of Ukrainians support the majoritarian system of elections, 27% approve of the current mixed system, and only 19% in favor of open party lists. “That is for an existing system, consider the dominant majority of people. Not to mention the Parliament. There’s also majoritarian MPs. They themselves don’t pootrezayut district. Therefore, before the second reading of the project can reach only if there are tectonic changes in the text,” in the popular front.
The same question is raised in the BPP: “Next – mazhoritarshchik. Why would they vote to mazhoritarka was not when they’re obviously not gonna go?”.
One of the authors of the bill, MP from the popular front Leonid Yemets problem is not seeing. “I am also a member and am the author of the law. I know a lot of constituencies that will vote. While those constituencies that have a priority of buckwheat and bribery of voters, will not support this law,” he said LIGA.net. The MP said that the political forces of the democratic direction, and it is about 300 votes in the Parliament, promised in the elections that will take law on open lists. “So the question – to take or not to take the law – not worth it. It was decided even before the election. Actually, the question now stands on a different plane – to fulfill the promise or not. Click on the green button or do not press,” said Yemets.
But to deny the fact that some political forces try to neutralize the essence of the project and the idea of open party lists, did not: “Yes, this risk exists. Counting on the Committee.”
The question LIGA.net if you have a chance to adopt the Electoral code before the end of the political season, Yemets said, “so to speak. If we go to the New year, it will be good. But now we have a budget, we have a number of other laws – for example, reintegration of Donbass, and so on. This month, next or right after the New year, but we are the solution to the code to accept”.
The second author of the project, the people’s Deputy from BPP Alexander Chernenko not so sure. “I don’t expect resistance. Votes, too,” he said in comments LIGA.net. On a question why so, Chernenko said: “226 votes in the first reading does not give such confidence.”