Archive for August 3rd, 2010

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Local Election Laws Changed – What Changes, what impact?

August 3, 2010

Well dear readers, the changes to local election laws have been signed into law…….and need a little explaining.

The next local elections are to be held on 31st October 2010 and changes how local councils and mayors of cities, towns and villages are elected…..not to mention the Supreme Council of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea.

The new law brings in a form of proportional representation…..and a first past the post system…….well nothing is every simple here.

50% of the council seats are awarded on a proportional basis according to votes gathered by political parties whilst the other 50% are won by getting a simple majority…….except for rural councils where seats are won or lost purely under the majority system without any form of proportional representation being taken into account.

The same plurity system (first past the post) also is the method for voting in Mayors of all cities, towns and villages.

In effect only cities and large urban towns give 50% of the seats on a proportional basis amongst the parties against votes cast for them.

I do not see anywhere in the law, what defines rural and urban……or indeed what amount of people define a town from a villiage.  Whilst in most cases it is obvious…….you can see challenges ahead nonetheless.

The law also says that only local parties can nominate candidates for posts within the Supreme Council of Crimea, and also regional, district, city or town councils……and any other councils within a city for that matter.  The same rules apply for Mayoral posts, only local parties can nominate candidates.

Eh?……..No I did not forget rural areas and rural heads in the above paragraph……..that remains a free for all as far as I can see without any restrictions……other than those which are listed below and apply across the board.

Any competing parties in any elections must have been registered and in existance for a minimum of 365 days prior to any election…….meaning Arseniy Yatseniuk’s party and Sergiy Tigipko’s party will have no ability to participate in these elections despite between them, in the Presidential elections earlier this year, they gathered more than 20% of the national vote.  Hmmmm!

(One has to assume a local party is a national party with a local regional office……but I see nothing that says how long that regional office is to have been opened for……so maybe they will appear for the elections and promptly disappear again?)

Anyway, back to the stated technicalities of the new law.

Candidates can only be nominated 34 days before an election and nominations close 28 days before the election……so there is a 6 day time frame for registration…….better hope the paperwork is right first time!

An election campaign starts 50 days before any election date (with the Central Election Committee announcing the election officially no later than 55 days before the election date).

Yes that’s what I thought too!!! – 50 days before the election, the campaign begins……but there are no official candidates until 36 days before the election at best and 28 days before the election at worst…….how can candidates campaign for 50 days when they cannot even register as a candidate until 36 days before the election?

It is of course the case that the major parties (who are local and more than 1 year old) can begin to campaign 50 days before the election and regardless of individual personalities (who must wait until 36 days before to register their participation for specific posts…..like Mayor), in the major towns and cities as there is 50% of the council up for grabs on a proportional vote basis.

Anyone else think there was room for improvement in this law?

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