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Ukraine Passes Law That Fines Lawmakers For Multiple Voting

Ukraine’s national legislature, the Verkhovna Rada, on December 19 passed a law in its second and final reading that makes it a criminal offense for a member of parliament to vote for one or more lawmakers.

The crime is punishable by a fine that ranges between $2,180 and $3,640 but could rise because it is pegged to a multiplier of the monthly minimum wage.

According to the law, accredited journalists in parliament can report multiple voting violations to the parliamentary administrative office.

The law passed in its first reading on October 29 and was one of President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s campaign promises this year.

Given its prevalence in the legislature, journalists attending plenary sessions seated on the balcony with a bird’s eye view of the chamber have labeled the practice “piano voting.” Lawmakers have been filmed numerous times using their colleagues' parliamentary registration cards during plenary sessions and voting on their behalf.

In September, journalists filmed two lawmakers from the pro-presidential Servant of the People party, Serhiy Lytvynenko and Olena Kopanchuk, voting for someone else.

They later publicly apologized and promised to donate their monthly salary to charity.

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