Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Venice Commission proposes Ukraine improve current proportional electoral system

Source: Kyivpost

The Venice Commission has proposed that Ukraine introduce a proportional electoral system with open regional lists, rather than switch to a mixed electoral system.

"If we're talking about the introduction of a mixed system, Ukraine has [already] had a negative experience in applying such a system. A mixed system may lead to abuses [at elections]. Thus, the Venice Commission will propose changing the current system to a proportional one, with open regional lists, rather than switching to a mixed system," Venice Commission Secretary Thomas Markert said at committee hearings on the discussion of bills on parliamentary elections in Kyiv on Monday.

He said that the text of the bill tabled in parliament by deputies of the coalition (authored by Oleksandr Yefremov, Ihor Sharov, and other MPs) was different from the text that was drafted by the working group set up by Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych and that was submitted to the commission for it to draw its conclusions.

Markert said that the Venice Commission had supported work in Ukraine related to the introduction of amendments to electoral legislation before the holding of new elections.

At the same time, he said that there were several types of electoral systems in European countries and that each state should choose an electoral system that fits it best.

"But this electoral system cannot provide advantages to one side. It should create equal conditions for all political forces," Markert said.

He said that such a system should be based on a broad political consensus and that all changes to the electoral system should be made after such a broad consensus is reached.

"It is now being proposed to make three changes to Ukraine's electoral system, in particular, a transition to a mixed system, an increase in the electoral threshold from 3% to 5% and a ban on electoral blocs," he said.

"All of these changes have been made by the majority contrary to the position of the opposition. We believe that such unilateral changes will undermine the confidence of voters in the electoral system," Markert said.

He noted that among the shortcomings in the bill currently being discussed in parliament was the fact that the issue of the boundaries of polling stations was not resolved in the document.

"The bill does not have the relevant provisions," he said, adding that the fact that this issue has not been resolved will create a lot of problems during the elections.

At the same time, Markert said that the Venice Commission had proposed that the Verkhovna Rada continue to work on drafting a single electoral code.