KYIV -- Outgoing Ukrainian parliament speaker Andriy Parubiy on August 27 signed a bill that amends the Electoral Code to make political party lists open and eliminates single-mandate constituencies in future elections.
Parubiy posted the 556-page Electoral Code on Twitter. It only requires President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s signature for it to enter into force on December 1, 2023, after the next scheduled vote to parliament.
Changing the Electoral Code was a key element of the Ukraine-EU Association Agreement that was ratified in September 2014.
The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), as well as the Venice Commission, the EU’s constitutional advisory body, have also stressed the importance of making the changes to strengthen the nation’s democratic institutions.
Before, half the legislative body’s seats were allocated proportionally based on party lists, but the law stipulated that only the first five candidates on the lists had to be shown.
Election watchdogs criticized the nontransparent feature, which enabled dubious candidates to remain unknown and parties to sell seats to the highest bidder seeking a mandate.
Ukrainian legislators enjoy immunity from prosecution.
Similarly, the other half of seats got allocated to single-mandate election districts where vote-buying was rampant, according to Ukrainian election watchdogs Opora and the Committee of Voters of Ukraine.
During its last session, the outgoing parliament voted for the bill in its second and final reading on July 11.
The next scheduled election is in October 2023 and will be held under the previous system unless the Electoral Code gets amended before that.
Otherwise, elections after that will solely be based on an open-party list proportional system.
On July 11, the president’s representative in parliament, Ruslan Stefanchuk, said the presidential office will first “analyze” the new Electoral Code before Zelenskiy decides to sign it.