The legislation passed by the Verkhovna Rada yesterday was submitted on the 27th of January and was meant to fix a deficiency in the current election law regarding the organization and operations of the District Election Commissions (DECs) and Precinct Election Commissions (PECs). Under current law there is a 2/3 quorum requirement for the PECs and DECs to function, including opening the polls on election day and counting the ballots. In the Second Round of a Presidential election, each of the two candidates proposes 50% of the members of the DECs and PECs. This allows one of the parties to undermine the process by denying a quorum. The Second Round of the Presidential election is the only election where this is possible because in all other elections the composition of the committees is made up of representatives of all participating parties or candidates. No party in these other elections is in a position, by itself, to deny a quorum.
The current election law does not provide for situations where one party’s representatives do not appear at designated times to open the polls or count the ballots. In these situations, the PECs can be viewed to be technically prohibited from opening the polls or counting the ballots for lack of a quorum.
The legislation passed by the Verkhovna Rada on February 3 deals with this deficiency by creating a mechanism that will ensure a quorum and allow the people to vote and the ballots to be counted.
The only situation in which the new amendment comes into effect is where one party denies a quorum by withholding its representatives from the work of the PECs or DECS.
In fact this happened in several oblasts this week. In Odessa, Donetsk and Crimea, BYUT representatives were absent at DEC meetings called to organize the Sunday elections.
The intent and impact of this legislation is solely to protect democracy and the right of the people to be heard.
Tymoshenko understands this and is deliberately lying about the impact and intent of the legislation in order to deceive the people and the international community. Her baseless threats to disrupt the election are a cover for the fact that she knows she is going to lose decisively on Sunday and thus is trying to discredit the election process for the Second Round.
This is consistent with her behavior in the First Round when she promoted bogus exit polls, and claimed massive fraud where none existed.
She can avoid any impact of the new law by simply having her people show up at the DEC and PEC meetings and do their legally mandated jobs.