PRN: Ukraine's Election Law is a New Step in Democratic Reforms
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 ofÂ BatkivshchynaÂ Â andÂ Our UkraineÂ Â 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.Â 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.Â 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.Â 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 Union.