According to the deputy of the Samopomich faction, Ruslan Sydorovych, on March 1, 2019, the working group on the preparation of the Electoral Code for the second reading completed its work. All amendments submitted by deputies, including the final transitional provisions, have been processed.
The document is being prepared for submission to the committee, and the technical and non-technical barriers to submitting the draft Electoral Code for the second reading have disappeared.
Sydorovych notes, “Following the law on the state language, the Verkhovna Rada need to see to the Electoral Code as soon as possible. It is necessary to make it effective on June 17, 2019, so that we could hold parliamentary elections under the new rules.”
“The document has a huge number of amendments – 4,296. But this is perhaps the most voluminous, the most systematic bill of the eighth convocation, and such things are considered by the parliament very rarely,” says Sydorovych.
The Electoral Code is what the Council of Europe has long demanded from us in order for us not to have the electoral legislation changed before every new election. A very important thing is the fact that back in 2014 both the presidential candidate Poroshenko and 5 political forces promised that during the VIII convocation new electoral legislation would be adopted, which, in particular, would introduce elections to the parliament on a proportional basis with open lists.
Sydorovych notes that now it is the moment of truth – we are about to see how politicians will deliver on their promises. “There is a presidential election campaign underway now, soon there will be parliamentary elections. And I urge all citizens to follow not the beautiful rhetoric, but the extent to which the actions of specific politicians correspond to their political promises.”
So, what does the Electoral Code change:
– Cancels the majority system. This phenomenon of political corruption, as well as the use of administrative resources, should become a thing of the past. Parliamentary elections in majority districts are always accompanied by a large number of corruption scandals – a systematic bribing of voters. When in 2015 the country abandoned this system in local elections, this reduced the number of pro-Russian forces in local councils.
“The absence of the majority system in the parliamentary elections is one of the aspects that will eliminate political corruption, minimize the possibility of bribing voters and provide an opportunity for politicians who really go there to work for the Ukrainian people,” says Ruslan Sydorovych.
– Voting paper. Now in the voting paper, a voter will have to put the number of a political party and optionally put the number of the candidate he/she supports.
“The voting paper will no longer be endlessly long, all information on the sequence numbers of the respective political parties, regional electoral lists will be displayed at each polling station. If, for example, a voter forgets the sequence number of the party he/she supports, he/she will be able to check everything immediately at the polling station. There will be special stands.”
– Campaign financing. Candidates will be able to make contributions to the electoral fund, which will be limited not by the amount of funding under the law on financing political parties, but by the sum of their declaration. A person who has his/her own funds, which are declared and verified by the National Agency for the Prevention of Corruption, has the opportunity to invest his/her money in the election campaign. But if the person owns 100 UAH, he/she should not have the right to contribute 10 million UAH. This will reduce the corruption component and the availability of black funds in election campaigns.
– Advertising. Outdoor advertising in election campaigns will be prohibited. This is the consistent position of Samopomich. Only portable structures are permitted. But the billboards will disappear. The issue of debates, the participation of the public broadcaster, the distribution of broadcasting time in such a way as to allow non-oligarchic forces to compete in the elections are regulated in detail.
– Electoral threshold. Now we have a 4% threshold in the Electoral Code. For a party to get to the parliament, it needs to overcome this threshold throughout the country. The ones who will overcome the threshold will be first determined on the basis of viewing regional election lists – these are 2-5-10 people, depending on how much the party scored in the country as a whole and in the relevant region. In addition, there will be a nationwide electoral district, the so-called compensation mandates, which will be distributed by the CEC.
Another important question is when will the Electoral Code take effect? Of course, we cannot change the rules amidst the current presidential election campaign. But the parliamentary elections in October 2019 should be held on a new proportional basis with open lists. Local elections, the formation of the united territorial communities, snap elections are held until the next regular 2020 ones according to the current electoral model, and in 2020, when the next local elections are to be held throughout the country, they will be held under the new electoral rules.
Ruslan Sydorovych notes:
“We need to shape such a system that will let people change the government through elections so that people will not be forced to take to the streets again and defend their dignity at Maidan. The society has a request, and I urge citizens to actively demand from the parliament the fulfilment of the latter’s promises. When there will be a unity of people – politicians will be forced to listen to them.”