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Zelenskiy sets early Rada elections for July 21 after dismissing parliament

Zelenskiy sets early Rada elections for July 21 after dismissing parliament

22 May 2019

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy signed a
decree on May 21 dismissing parliament and setting early elections for July 21.
The decree takes effect on the date of its publishing in state media, which has
yet to happen. 

 

“The main argument for dismissing the Verkhovna Rada
is very low trust among Ukraine’s citizens to this institution – 4%,” Zelenskiy
told the leaders of parliamentary factions and groups at a May 21 meeting at
the Presidential Administration. “This is an assessment of parliament’s work
and the most weighty argument for ceasing its authority. I, as the guarantor of
the Constitution, am required to guarantee the rights of Ukraine’s citizens.
The legal basis for dismissal – a coalition hasn’t existed since 2016,”
Zelenskiy said, as reported by the president.gov.ua website.

 

In claiming the coalition hasn’t existed, Zelenskiy
was referring to the two parties that comprise the coalition government – the
Poroshenko Bloc and the People’s Front – not having the minimum 226 MPs between
them since 2016 to be able to form the parliamentary majority. Nonetheless,
they formed the coalition on a de jure basis and no one challenged that in the
courts in the last three years.

 

In response to Zelenskiy’s decree, Parliamentary
Speaker Andriy Parubiy of the People’s Front party said an appeal will be filed
against the decree in the Constitutional Court. “It’s sad and disturbing that
the guarantor of the Constitution of Ukraine will begin his activity in his
post with gross violations to the Constitution. A bad sign,” Parubiy tweeted
that day.

 

Zelenskiy and the faction leaders agreed to hold an
extraplenary session of parliament today to consider two items of legislation –
amendments to the elections code and a law on public procurements. The two key
amendments to the elections code proposed by Zelenskiy are canceling
single-mandate districts and reducing the qualifying party threshold to 3%,
said on May 21 Vitaliy Khomutynnik, the co-chair of the Renaissance
parliamentary group loyal to Kolomoisky. That evening, the just-appointed
Presidential Administration Head Andriy Bohdan told the 112 Ukraine television
network that “open lists are so far not possible owing to the position of the MPs.”
Under exclusively closed list voting, the entire parliament would be elected
based on lists of candidates selected by the heads of political parties.

 

Zenon Zawada: A general
consensus exists that early parliamentary elections will be held on July 21,
regardless of the legal nuances. The parliamentary faction heads said as much
when speaking to reporters after meeting with Zelenskiy. The more certain
parties or politicians attempt to undermine the early vote, the more support
they stand to lose from the public. Polls indicate that Zelenskiy’s party,
The People’s Servant, will get the best results, and by a sizable margin. An
intense contest will ensue for the remaining electorate between a large number
of competitive parties.

 

We don’t see exclusive closed-list voting as much of
an improvement from the current voting system, in which half of MPs are
selected by closed lists and the other half by single-mandate districts
(geographically determined). The ideal system to reduce the influence of money
is exclusive open-list voting, in which voters can select those candidates
nominated by political parties. Closed list voting creates a situation in which
business interests are able to pay parties to have a representative in
parliament (the higher the rank on the list, the higher the price).

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