Ukraine’s Election Law is a New Step in Democratic Reforms
KYIV, Ukraine, December 29, 2011 /PRNewswire/ –
In December 2011, the President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych signed a new
parliamentary election law. It was drafted with international assistance and passed by the
Verkhonva Rada (Ukrainian Parliament) on November 17, 2011. Both the Ukrainian government
and opposition supported the new law. The majority of parliamentarians – virtually 80
percent, including the members of Batkivshchyna and Our Ukraine opposition parties, -
voted for the document.
Since taking office in early 2010, the administration of President Viktor Yanukovych
committed itself to conducting comprehensive economic, governmental, and political
reforms, aimed at transforming Ukraine into a vibrant, free-market democracy. For this
reason President Yanukovych signed into law one of the most outstanding examples of the
current reform campaign – a new parliamentary election law.
Rather than unilaterally introduce the new election law to the parliament, the
Ukrainian government formed a commission for the election law reform first. Ruslan
Knyazevych, a moderate opposition member of the Ukrainian parliament, headed the
commission. The body analyzed the current law and solicited input from respected
international organizations, including the Venice Commission.
The law produced by the commission and voted in by the parliament reforms the existing
party-list system into a mixed one. According to the law, half of 450 Rada deputies will
be elected in single-member constituencies. The new law raises representation threshold
from 3 to 5 percent of total votes.
In essence, the new law will preserve the significance of political parties while
ensuring that parliament is also accountable to grassroots constituencies.
Politics in Ukraine is quite polarized. Yet, in this instance, leaders of the
opposition, including the Batkivshchyna Party members, named the new election law a basis
for competitive parliamentary election in November 2012. The European Commission mentioned
that the new law was a positive sign for democracy in Ukraine.
Besides introducing the new election law, the Ukrainian government recently lowered
tax rates, improved system of VAT collection and reimbursement, reduced the size of
government personnel by 28 percent, and decreased the number of business licensing
requirements. Yanukovych’s Administration has been transforming Ukraine into a dynamic and
democratic nation. In years to come it will do what is necessary to join the European
SOURCE Worldwide News Ukraine