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Local Elections 2015……or not

March 14, 2015

Following on from yesterday’s entry regarding the seemingly inescapable legitimising of the illegitimate, when the OSCE will, whilst sanctioning the October 2015 local elections free and fair, simultaneously also legitimise those within the occupied territories of eastern Ukraine that will be far from free and fair, it is perhaps worthy of examining whether the scheduled October date will actually occur – or not – and under what electoral laws.

The issue of early parliamentary elections in 2016 was raised in an entry regarding the re-re-branding of Block Poroshenko to Solidarity (again) a few days ago – “Nevertheless, only the foolish would rule out new Rada elections in 2016.”

As stated therein  “There is also the issue of recent Rada history, where it is difficult to find a second Rada session after election that didn’t grind to a deadlock and infighting, resulting in very little being achieved. The third session has often been more or less fatal. Few parliaments have progressed to the forth session and beyond in anything other than a non-productive coma.”

Predicting such an occurrence, an entry appeared here on 14th October 2014 – prior to the election of the current Rada highlighting the issue of pending and necessary changes to the current electoral legislation, that opined – “Indeed, one of the first laws that should probably be passed by a new RADA are the currently pending new election laws. It would give those laws 5 years, via numerous minor elections a chance to bed in, being amended to fine tune if necessary – in the best case scenario. In the worst case scenario, the new laws would be in force for any early RADA elections should a full 5 year term not be the fate of the RADA sworn in post 26th October.

The forthcoming elections are not going to return a “good” RADA – but they may return one that is “good enough”. The question is then, for how long will it be “good enough”? New elections laws, the removal of MPs immunity and other big ticket laws need be the priority for a newly invested legislature. It’s first 100 days will be key as to whether it will see out a full term – or not.”

Needless to say, as with so much necessary reform promoting and corruption reducing legislation, the required new law on elections that would seriously reduce the nefariousness surrounding single mandate seats is still absent.  Thus the answer to the question posed above is now becoming clearer with regard to just how long this Rada will be deemed “good enough”.

early

It is increasingly clear that new parliamentary elections are going to occur long before the term of this Rada expires.  The Spring of 2016 is looking like an increasingly possible date for another Rada reset.  Indeed it is probably the worst kept secret within the Kolomoiski and Liovochkin camps, that a Spring 2016 Rada reset is currently anticipated.

It goes without saying that the new election laws would be best passed long before any such elections.  That therefore raises questions over the laws under which the local elections will be held in October.  It would be wise to have any new legislation in place at least 6 months prior to any vote so all understand the changes and outcomes of any new system.  A year would be preferable, and indeed is something of an unofficial expectation of the international community whenever and where ever practicable.

Working back from October, any legislative changes will need to occur in April/May to provide a minimum of 6 months lead-in/familiarisation for those taking part and also administrating the elections.  Will the drafted, but as yet still to be submitted “Association of Ukrainian Cities Bill” that suggests some major changes to local electoral law be adopted, or will elections take place under existing laws, or will there simply be a few amendments?  First past the post single mandates, party lists, or a combination of both?  A mirror of any new parliamentary system to be adopted, or a different system, or the old system?

Alternatively, if the unofficial international expectations are to be facilitated, then the October 2015 elections would be bumped back until Spring 2016 – the same heavily tipped period for a new Rada election.  This presenting the prospect of simultaneous elections and a substantial saving on the associated administrative costs – whilst also bumping the electoral costs from the 2015 budget to that of 2016.

With decentralisation likely to make political control of the regional administrations far more important than ever before, is there political gain in presenting the Ukrainian constituency with both local/regional and national choices simultaneously – and can bumping the local elections from October 2015 until Spring 2016 be justified (even if using that period of delay to “educate” the electorate about the changes)?

The first thing to look out for are electoral laws on the Rada agenda in April/May – followed by the historical death throws of effectiveness associated with the 3rd legislative session ghosts of many a Rada past.

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