Citizen Engagement Marathon on Electoral Reform
On June 8-9, 2017, Ukrainian civil society, international and national experts, media, political parties and government representatives gather in Kyiv to participate in a citizen engagement marathon on electoral reform titled, “ELECTIONS: VOX CIVIUM.” Participants were engaged in a variety of interactive activities, including public discussions, workshops, quizzes, and interviews.
The event was organized by the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES), the National Democratic Institute (NDI), and USAID/ENGAGE, in partnership with Center UA, Public Movement CHESNO, Institute Respublika, Civil Network OPORA, and the Center for Policy and Legal Reforms. This Marathon represents a united effort to strengthen democratic progress in Ukraine, supported by the United States Agency for International Development, Global Affairs Canada and the UK government.
During the political panel, IFES Ukraine Senior Legal Advisor Denys Kovryzhenko presented an IFES-OPORA analytical paper titled, “Legal Reform Priorities for Elections, Referendums and Political Finance”. This document emphasizes that, while the reform and harmonization of Ukraine’s current electoral systems for parliamentary and local elections remain a key reform priority, political inaction on this front must not hold other reform priorities hostage. Many legislative changes that would significantly strengthen electoral processes are possible under Ukraine’s current parallel system. These changes include but are not limited to:
- Harmonization of election laws;
- Mandatory certification of election commissioners;
- Introduction of timely, proportionate, effective and dissuasive penalties for electoral violations;
- Replacement of CEC commissioners with expired terms;
- Implementation of structural and operational reforms of the CEC;
- Ensuring the electoral rights of underrepresented and disenfranchised groups (IDPs, internal economic migrants, women, people with disabilities);
- Replacing the 2012 National Referendum Law;
- Establishment of an electronic declaration system for party and campaign financial reports;
- Considering restrictions on campaign spending and advertising;
- Harmonization of political finance provisions for local elections.
On the second day of the event, participants developed messages to promote different aspects of electoral reform, with a focus on electoral system reform, strengthening political participation of women, internally displaced persons (IDPs), internal labor migrants and people with disabilities, as well as the adoption of a new National Referendum law.IFES-OPORA Electoral Legal Reform in Ukraine v1 2017-06-15 Eng