Opinion polls during elections, dissolution of state administrations, and regional languages in education: bills on the parliamentary agenda

15 September 2020
Opinion polls during elections, dissolution of state administrations, and regional languages in education: bills on the parliamentary agenda
Home > Monitoring > Opinion polls during elections, dissolution of state administrations, and regional languages in education: bills on the parliamentary agenda

A lot of MPs are engaged in local elections campaigning, but the Parliament continues to work and will hold a plenary meeting this week.

Today in our digest: MPs plan to allow the Cabinet to conduct opinion polls at polling places, decide whether to dissolve raion state administrations, and consider proposals on changes to language policy in education.

Opinion polls at polling places (4043)

Status: the bill is on the parliamentary agenda, MPs can still submit their amendments.

Who is affected: Ukrainian citizens, local government, the Central Election Commission, and the Cabinet.

What does it change:

  • the Central Election Commission will conduct opinion polls at the request of the Cabinet. Questions, terms, and scope of a poll will be defined by the Government
  • opinion polls will be conducted on election day (of national or local elections) and cover the whole country or particular territories
  • poll results will be published on Central Election Commission’s website within five days after they have been established
  • no polls can include questions on the following issues: the temporarily occupied territories, elections in the temporarily occupied territories, trade with the temporarily occupied territories, governance in the temporarily occupied territories, amnesty, and relations with the aggressor state.

What is wrong:

  • opinion polls, especially conducted by government bodies, can easily become an instrument of manipulation. It is highly probable that such polls will be used as pseudo-referendums to legitimize decisions the authorities plan to make
  • restrictions on the range of questions the Cabinet is allowed to include in polls are insufficient. It will be allowed to ask not just whether people support authorities’ plans, but also question territorial integrity of the state
  • since there are no mandatory guidelines regulating how questions should be formulated, the Cabinet will not be bound by sociological standards. That creates a perfect opportunity for manipulation via both the manner in which opinion polls will be conducted and the content of questionnaires.

Additional information: MPs from Holos faction have submitted nine bills alternative to 4043.

Dissolution of raion state administrations (3975)

Statusthe bill has been sent for revision and will be reconsidered in the first reading. MPs can still submit their amendments.

Who is affected: civil servants, territorial offices of executive bodies, heads of raion state administrations, the Cabinet, the President, and Ukrainian citizens.

What does it change:

  • if there will be changes in the administrative and territorial structure, the Cabinet will be able to create, reorganize, and dissolve local state administrations
  • the Cabinet will decide on what to do with assets, rights, and obligations of the dissolved state administrations.

Why this is important: Ukraine is implementing an administrative and territorial reform. On July 17, the Parliament made a decision to amalgamate raions, but it is still unclear what changes the structure of territorial offices of executive bodies will undergo.

What is wrong:

  • policy on the matter has not been thought out in advance. Mechanisms of creation, dissolution, and reorganization of raion state administrations should have been defined in the earliest drafts of the administrative and territorial reform. Now, the Parliament makes rushed decisions to make the reform work
  • the bill should have been introduced much earlier. Raion state administrations are executive bodies under raion councils, and after the local elections on October 25 the work of local councils could be blocked if the Parliament fails to pass the bill
  • the designated committee has not published the final version of the bill yet.

Regional languages in education (3077)

Status: included on the parliamentary agenda and ready for consideration.

Who is affected: pupils and students, their parents, lecturers, and heads of educational establishments.

What does it change:

  • regional languages will be introduced in education
  • local government will decide on whether to use regional languages and languages of national minorities in education at any level: preschool, basic, vocational, special, tertiary, higher, out-of-school, and postgraduate
  • educational establishments with regional or national minority languages will still have to ensure that their pupils and students know the state language at a level sufficient for work purposes.

What is wrong:

  • the bill is an attempt to change the law On functioning of the state language by amending the law On education
  • the state is obliged to ensure the right to learn a native language only for indigenous peoples and national minorities. The right to study in languages of national minorities and indigenous peoples is guaranteed by the law On national minorities in Ukraine
  • the sole purpose of the bill is to supplant Ukrainian language with Russian in education.