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Ukrainian Parliament Paves Way Toward Slashing Number Of Mandates By 33 Percent

The proposed changes would eliminate single-seat constituencies in Ukraine's parliament.
The proposed changes would eliminate single-seat constituencies in Ukraine's parliament.

Ukraine’s parliament on February 4 approved a bill in one of two readings that would amend the constitution and reduce the number of lawmakers in the chamber from 450 to 300.

A slim majority of 236 lawmakers voted for President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s draft law that would amend two articles of the constitution.

The other change would enshrine a purely proportional electoral system and eliminate single-seat constituencies.

Single-mandate districts currently make up half of parliament’s 450 seats and have often been used as a way for oligarchs, sports stars, and celebrities to get elected.

The language of the legislation still could be changed before a final second reading but in its current form the bill stipulates that citizens who’ve lived at least five years in the country and fluently speak the Ukrainian language qualify for a parliamentary seat.

A constitutional majority of 300 votes is needed for the bill to pass in its final reading.

The Constitutional Court on December 17 ruled that the legislation is in conformity with two articles of the constitution but with reservations.

Opposition lawmakers have criticized the bill because it removes a provision that stipulates holding elections "on the basis of universal, equal, and direct suffrage by secret ballot," which may lead to opportunities for legitimizing any form of election other than those currently specified in the constitution.

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