The Public Calls for Immediate Reelection of 13 Members of the “Expired” Central Election Commission

An appeal, signed on 10 April 2017 by the Ukrainian Center for Independent Political Research  and a number of non-governmental organizations, in particular Public Movement CHESNO, Civil Network OPORA, Transparency International Ukraine and others, says that the Verkhovna Rada must immediately reelect 13 members of the Central Election Commission so that to save credibility of the central organ of administration of electoral processes in the country and, as a result, of the institution of elections in general.

UCIPR, along with other leading non-governmental organizations, believes that the inability of the Parliament and President of Ukraine to implement, within the three years, an effective and legitimate mechanism for reshuffling the Central Election Commission forms an opinion that the current situation and ineffective half-measures are acceptable to all stakeholders. It is extremely dangerous to keep the Central Election Commission in a state of constant tension, simultaneously demotivating its members for systematic work and participation in electoral legislation reform or in internal transformations of the Commission.

There are no obstacles to the reelection of the Central Election Commission members. Conversely, a notice of suspicion for the Chairman of the Central Election Commission filed by the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine is a sufficient reason for stepping up activities of the Verkhovna Rada and President in search for compromise on candidates for the Central Election Commission members.

In their appeal, the non-governmental organizations remind that the list of 11 candidates submitted by the President Petro Poroshenko in June 2016 has failed to reflect the whole range of parliamentary factions, half of which do not have quota. According to the Venice Commission’s Code of Good Practices in Electoral Matters, the independence of collegial bodies must be ensured by means of representation of different political factions and groups in electoral commissions. In addition, two seats remain vacant, so it is time to review the list of candidates and make changes in order to vote them as soon as possible in the Rada.

The non-governmental organizations ask all factions of the Verkhovna Rada to publicly present the President with renewed proposals for candidates. It is extremely important not only to reach a consensus on the reelection of the Central Election Commission members, but also to nominate professional and politically neutral candidates who have untarnished reputation.

UCIPR and other signatories to the appeal are sure that a balanced and effective composition of the Central Election Commission should help restore confidence in this body and promote further fair and democratic elections. Each party and political group, regardless of whether it is in power or in opposition, should remember that the political landscape is changing and that a responsible and independent body that ensures proper administration of the election process is a guarantee against any manipulation or the use of administrative resource.

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