Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Constitutional Court rules on Law of the Presidential elections

Ukraine's Constitutional Court has brought down its ruling.  As previously reported in a leak the Court has ruled unconstitutional five provisions of the Law on the Presidential Elections.

1. The provision that required voters abroad to be registered with the consulate before having the right to vote. 

Now any citizen of Ukraine can turn up and apply to vote at a Ukrainian consulate abroad. In a strange and some what conflicting move the Court upheld the abolition of absentee voting.  Seems that if your are living abroad you can vote but if your holidaying in Ukraine or visiting friends or relatives you are denied the right to vote. If your voting abroad you still have to attend the consulate offices. In 2007 the number of voters voting abroad was less then 0.05%

2. The provision that members of the local CEC boards needed to be registered as living within the area has been removed

This is a reasonable change but will not effect the conduct of the election

3. Proposed limitations of court challenges have been removed.

It is not clear exactly as to what the repercussions of this might be. It is common for legislation to restrict frivolous and unsubstantiated challenges that might arise from time to time.  The general principle is that any error in the conduct of the election procedures MUST be demonstrated to have effected the overall results of the election before any challenge can succeed.

4. Abolished the two day limitation on hearing any disputes related to the conduct of the election

5. Removed the exclusive right of the CEC to declare a candidates registration invalid

The courts will now have the right to consider any application, the main problem with this is any court proceedings may effect the overall administration and timing of the election if any disputes are not quickly addressed.

Yushchenko was quick to claim that the Constitutional Court ruling was a win for his stance but the reality is it was not .  Not all the arguments provided by Yushchenko were upheld. The changes to the legislation will not effect the  overall elections.  The elections will still proceed as planned with the 90 days campaign and most important the 2.5 million hrivina deposit remains in place.  The Parliament may have to modify some aspects of the law but the legislation remains in tact.