Expert organizations call on members of the Parliament to finally start electoral reform
The signatory organizations of this statement urge the MPs of all factions to use the last opportunity and adopt amendments to the electoral legislation or assume political responsibility for the failure of the reform. We emphasize the need to renew dialogue with the non-governmental expert environment on changes in this area
The seventh session of Verkhovna Rada of the VIII convocation is the last opportunity to hold the electoral reform before the next elections of MPs. During the three post-Maidan years in Ukraine, almost nothing has been done to change the legislation in this area. Although all major draft laws have been under consideration by Verkhovna Rada for about two years. The expert discussion has long been held, international organizations have expressed their opinions for dozens of times in this regard, 5 out of 6 parliamentary fractions have committed themselves to implementing this reform by signing a Coalition agreement.
Electoral reform is one of the most system-formative in terms of positive changes in medium and long-term outlook. It adequately responds to the request of society to change not only personalities, but also the quality of elites in elected bodies, access of citizens to power, as well as fair and understandable rules of the game during the electoral process.
However, in practice, due to the delay of parliamentarians, Ukraine has already lost the opportunity to carry out a comprehensive reform and codification of electoral legislation. In the time remaining for the upcoming parliamentary elections, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine can at least determine the law on the election of MPs, abandoning the parallel electoral system in favor of the proportional one with open regional party lists.
The Ukrainian parliament must adhere to its own declared positions, as well as respond to the recommendations of the expert community and such reputable organizations as the Venice Commission, the OSCE-ODIHR. The decision must be taken no later than March 2018 in order to comply both with international standards on the stability of legislation before the elections, and the logic of preparing for the next declaration of will.
We believe that for successful launch of electoral reform, first of all it is necessary:
1. To prevent future election of MPs from being held under the law of Yanukovych
2. Parliamentary factions and groups to decide as soon as possible on the draft law that they are prepared to support and to publish their positions publicly
3. The Conciliation Council to include to the agenda of the upcoming session the issue of reviewing drafts of electoral laws
4. The Parliament to consider draft laws on holding parliamentary elections in the first reading no later than October 2017.
At the same time, other important issues, that promote the implementation of passive and active electoral rights of citizens, should not be left without the attention of people's deputies, such as:
· inevitability of punishment for crimes against electoral rights;
· the proper organization of the election process by a legitimate and timely reelected Central Election Commission.
Electoral reform is a complex set of changes and measures aimed at protecting the rights of citizens, as well as ensuring a fair and honest result of declaration of will. Non-governmental expert organizations still advocate the idea of systematic reform of electoral norms and procedures and are open to constructive methods of work.
The signatory organizations of this statement urge the MPs of all factions to use the last opportunity and adopt amendments to the electoral legislation or assume political responsibility for the failure of the reform. We emphasize the need to renew dialogue with the non-governmental expert environment on changes in this area.
Center for Political and Legal Reforms
Civil Network OPORA
Human Rights Platform
Institute of Electoral Law
Ukrainian Center for Independent Political Research