Besides delaying the rotation of CEC members, there are other risks – politicization of the appointment process and making it populist, OPORA's experts say.

We remind that 12 of 15 members of the CEC have had their seven-year term of office expired yet on 1 June 14. However, their term of office was extended to prevent interruption of 2015 presidential election campaign. Some other election processes have already started and finished since that time, but both parliamentary factions and the President didn't rush to solve the issue. Parliamentary factions and groups prepared the list of nominees for CEC members only in autumn of 2015 (they suggested 30 candidacies), and the President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko submitted 11 nominees for consideration of the Parliament only on 7 July 2016. However, despite numerous sonorous statements, the MPs failed to consider the President's submission before the end of the fourth session.

“If the parliamentary factions are not ready to support all the nominees and doubt their qualification or independence, they can support only those they think deserve the appointment and start a political dialog with the President concerning a new submission. – stated Olha Aivazovska, Parliamentary and Electoral Programs Coordinator at Civil Network OPORA. – Besides that, any attempts to relate this issue to the problems with wider political agreements on other personnel or legislative issues in the Parliament are inadmissible.” (the statement is about position of Head of the Petro Poroshenko Bloc faction Ihor Hryniv concerning consideration of CEC rotations together with formation of other government bodies – editor).

Therefore, Civil Network OPORA has prepared a statement calling on the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine not to violate CEC formation procedure, and secure independence and professionalism of the Commission, guaranteed by the legislation, as well as international standards of its impartiality as a body which organizes the elections.

According to analyst of the Civil Network OPORA Oleksandr Kliuzhev, it's necessary to conduct a public discussion in the nearest future concerning the priorities for activities of the CEC and directions of its reforming with consideration of candidates submitted by the President. The next step would be a decision of the corresponding parliamentary committee concerning these candidates and voting for each candidate for CEC member separately in the Parliament. “Ukrainian Parliament shall follow the procedure of consideration of President's submission, established by the Constitution, the Law of Ukraine on the Central Election Commission and the Rules of Parliamentary Procedure (Article 209),” – says the expert.

According to the Venice Commission's Guiding Principles for Elections, political parties should be equally represented in election commissions or have an opportunity to watch their activities. Thus, according to Denys Kovryzhenko, Senior Legal Advisor of the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES), the fact that representatives of parliamentary factions or other parties may be included in the members of the CEC doesn't contradict the generally recognized principle of impartiality of the central election administration body, as long as its members shall act exclusively within their authority and in the manner established by the Constitution and the corresponding laws.

We should also mention that OPORA has already emphasized in its previous statements that the fact that President's submission of new CEC members lacked nominees from 3 of 6 factions and one group of MPs doesn't help to overcome the crisis in the CEC and to reach consensus between subjects in the Parliament. Moreover, it may result in unbalanced membership of the Commission.

According to the experts of Civil Network OPORA, public trust is essential for proper functioning of the CEC, but it will be difficult to gain it if the procedure of CEC members’ rotation depends on private political negotiations and interests.


For comment, please contact:

Olha Aivazovska – 063 6179750; Oleksandr Kliuzhev – 063 6300068.

Reference information:

6/1/2014 12 of 15 members of the CEC have had their seven-year term of office expired. Their term of office was extended to prevent interruption of the presidential election campaign.
10/30/2015 President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko stated in his speech concerning local elections that he's waiting for suggested candidates for new membership of the CEC.
11/4/2015 Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine Volodymyr Hroisman called on all parliamentary factions to submit nominees for CEC members till the end of the week. The total number of suggested candidates was 30.
11/16/2015 Higher Administrative Court of Ukraine has ruled that inaction of the President of Ukraine, particularly a failure to appoint new members of the CEC, is illegitimate. However, the President hasn't yet executed the court decision.
4/21/2016 After all the national and local elections had finished, leading civic and expert organizations made a statement demanding urgent rotations in the CEC and called on the President of Ukraine not to evade his duty and appoint new members of the CEC.
4/25/2016 Organizations started collecting signatures under a Petition to the President concerning appointment of new Central Election Commission members.
6/3/2016 Petro Poroshenko announced on a press-conference held in Administration of the President on the eve of the second anniversary of his inauguration that he had submitted 11 new candidates for CEC members and petitioned for withdrawal of 12 current members whose term of office expired.
6/7/2016 The corresponding submissions were published on the official website of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine (draft Resolution #4789 and draft Resolution #4790).