Attempt to reinstate the mixed electoral system

22 December 2021
Attempt to reinstate the mixed electoral system
Home > Monitoring > Attempt to reinstate the mixed electoral system

On December 20 the parliamentary group “Za Majbutne” proposed to postpone the transition to a proportional electoral system until 2027. David Arahamiya has already expressed his firm belief there would be at least three hundred votes in the Verkhovna Rada for this bill. Special analytical digest of Centre of United Actions regarding the risks of returning to the proportional electoral system below.

Draft bill # 6444 of December 17, 2021

Cosponsors: 6 MPs from “Za Majbutne” group.

Who is affected: Ukrainian citizens, political parties, the Verkhovna Rada, the Cabinet, and the President.

Background: Ukraine used a mixed electoral system for several parliamentary elections. 226 MPs were elected via closed party lists and 226 — in single-mandate electoral districts. This system was introduced first during the presidency of Leonid Kuchma and reinstated under Viktor Yanukovych. In 2012, it helped the candidates loyal to the incumbent president to be elected even though the majority of Ukrainians supported opposition parties at the time.

The parliamentary elections of 2014 and 2019 also used this system, although the introduction of the open list proportional system for parliamentary elections was promised by both Petro Poroshenko and the European Ukraine majority coalition. MPs of the previous convocation have adopted this new system only at the end of their term in office by adopting the Election Code. That is why only local elections of 2020 were held using the new rules: in big cities, raions, and oblasts. Under current legislation, the next parliamentary election has to be held using the open regional list proportional system.

Why this is important:

  • introduction of the open list proportional system was recommended for Ukraine by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe
  • taking into account a comment by the head of Servant of the People faction Davyd Arakhamia that restoration of the mixed system will be supported by more than 300 votes, there is a risk that the election reform will be reverted.

Summary of the bill:

  • reenacts the Law on Elections of People’s Deputies of Ukraine with the mixed electoral system
  • postpones the introduction of the open regional lists proportional system for parliamentary elections until the election to the Verkhovna Rada of 2027.

What is wrong:

  • the mixed electoral system does not ensure that the parliamentary majority works efficiently. Ukraine is a semi-parliamentary semi-presidential republic. This form of government is effective only if there is a single-party majority or there is a coalition where all MPs belong to their factions. With many independent MPs in the parliament, there is a risk that the coalition will not be formed at all
  • self-nomination and elections in single-mandate districts make it harder to maintain stable support for government’s initiatives from the parliamentary majority, so it is also harder to develop long-term state policies
  • in the elections in single-mandate districts candidates often resort to vote-buying up to the point where it distorts the voting results
  • the mixed system was introduced to allow incumbent presidents and parliamentary majorities to win a majority in the next parliament with the help of majoritarian MPs elected by using the administrative resource and vote-buying
  • rollback to elections in single-mandate districts will be an obstacle for the development of stable political parties represented in regions by diverse networks of local offices
  • under the mixed system it is impossible to elect the full composition of the parliament because part of the election districts is on the temporarily occupied territories
  • the Law on the Elections of People’s Deputies of Ukraine has already been abolished and it is impossible to reenact it.

Alternative solution:

  • to reject the bill
  • to stop manipulating the law and electoral system for the sake of winning the political struggle.

We urge:

  • the voters to spread information about the dangers of the mixed electoral system in social media and forward it to friends and colleagues
  • the journalists — to create a resonance about the attempt to return the country to election laws reintroduced by Yanukovych.