00:00 21.07.2019

Ukraine to hold snap parliamentary elections

5 min read
Ukraine to hold snap parliamentary elections

Snap parliamentary elections will take place in Ukraine on Sunday, July 21.

As was the case with the parliament of the eighth convocation, the new Verkhovna Rada will be elected with the use of the mixed electoral system.

At 08:00 a.m. Kyiv time, polling stations are to open across Ukraine. In addition, there will be polling places at consular offices in a multi-mandate foreign constituency.

According to the current electoral system, half of 450 lawmakers will be elected in a multi-mandate electoral district on political parties' lists (proportional representation), another half will be elected in single-mandate electoral districts (majoritarian voting).

The Rada elections will not take place in Russia-occupied Crimea and certain districts of Donetsk and Luhansk regions (the so–called "ORDLO").

As part of Ukraine's territory is occupied, the vote will take place in 199 majoritarian districts instead of the usual 225. Thus, 424 out of 450 deputies will be elected to the Verkhovna Rada.

Voters who will vote at the place of their registration will receive two ballot papers and will be able to vote for both the party list and a candidate in their majoritarian district.

Those who have changed the place for voting or who are going to vote abroad will be able to elect a party only.

The Central Election Commission (CEC) registered 1,719 official observers at the snap parliamentary elections on July 21: some 1,602 observers from 22 international organizations and 117 from 12 foreign states. Their registration was over on July 15.

Citizens of the Russian Federation were denied registration as official observers under the law on specifics of state policy for ensuring state sovereignty of Ukraine in the temporarily occupied territories in Donetsk and Luhansk regions. In addition, there will be no polling stations in the Russian Federation.

On June 25, the CEC completed the registration of candidates running for parliament.

The ballot paper will contain 22 political parties. The Opposition Bloc" (Yevhen Murayev tops its list), the Strength and Honor Party (Ihor Smeshko), the Batkivschyna Party (Yulia Tymoshenko), the Patriot Party, Syla Liudei (Power of People), the Opposition Platform – For Life (Yuriy Boyko), the Party of Greens of Ukraine, the All-Ukrainian Association Fakel ("Torch").

In addition, running for parliament are the Samopomich Party (Andriy Sadovy tops the list), the European Solidarity Party (Petro Poroshenko), Groysman's Ukrainian Strategy (Volodymyr Groysman), the Civil Position Party (Anatoliy Hrytsenko), the Social Justice Party, the Servant of the People Party (Dmytro Razumkov), the Syla Prava Party ("The Power of Law").

Next in the ballot paper go the Radical Party of Oleh Liashko (Oleh Liashko tops the list), the Party of Sharij, the Holos ("Voice") Party (Svyatoslav Vakarchuk), Nezalezhnist ("Independence"), the Agrarian Party (Mykhailo Poplavsky), the Svoboda Party (Oleh Tiahnybok) and Mikheil Saakashvili's of New Forces (Mikheil Saakashvili).

According to the CEC, there are 3,085 candidates in 199 majoritarian districts, both self-nominated and those nominated by the parties.

Speaking in his inaugural speech, newly elected Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky announced plans to early terminate the powers of the 8th convocation of Ukraine's Verkhovna Rada. His decree on terminating parliamentary powers and holding early elections on July 21, 2019, entered into force on May 23.

According to Zelensky, the main reason for the dissolution of the Verkhovna Rada was the very low confidence of Ukrainian citizens in that institution, and the legal basis was the lack of a parliamentary coalition since 2016.

A group of lawmakers lodged a motion with the Constitutional Court, challenging the presidential decree on the early termination of the powers of parliament. On June 21, it became known that the Constitutional Court recognized President Zelensky's decree was in line with the Ukrainian Constitution.

The Rada elections were originally to be held in October 2019.

Under Ukrainian laws, the powers of members of the current parliament cease with the oath to be taken by the newly elected parliamentarians.

Before the end of their term, the Verkhovna Rada of the 8th convocation adopted the Electoral Code, which, in particular, provides for the holding of parliamentary elections with the use of the proportional system with open lists.

At present, the Code is undergoing technical and legal finalization, after which the chairman of the Verkhovna Rada must sign it. Then it is submitted to the president for signature. If the president also signs this document and it enters into force, the next regular parliamentary elections can be held under the new system.

According to latest polls by the Rating group, the Razumkov Center and the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology (KIIS), the Servant of the People, the Opposition Platform – For Life and European Solidarity will have seats in parliament. In addition, Batkivschyna, Holos, and Strength and Honor may join them. Some sociological polls show that the Opposition Bloc, the Radical Party and Civil Position also have changes.

The threshold for political parties to be elected to parliament is set at 5%.

According to the Law on Elections of People's Deputies of Ukraine, the CEC shall establish the results of the parliamentary elections in the multi-mandate electoral district and the single-mandate electoral districts no later than on the fifteenth day since Election Day (i.e. no later than on August 5). The CEC shall publish the official results in the newspapers Holos Ukrainy ("Voice of Ukraine") and Uriadovy Kurier ("Government's Courier") no later than on the fifth day since then (i.e. no later than on August 10) from the day the election results are established. The list of elected lawmakers shall be published in alphabetical order.