Parliament on July 14 approved new local election rules via a bill that introduces elements of proportional representation in elections to municipal and regional councils, and two-round elections for mayors of large cities. Although not explicitly required by the International Monetary Fund and other Western donors, the legislation is nonetheless a key component of Kyiv’s plan to decentralize government by delegating more power and functions to regional and local governments. However, the bill also specifies that the elections, which are scheduled for Oct. 25, won’t take place in the occupied parts of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts, or in the Russian-annexed Ukrainian territory of Crimea.
In addition, under the second Minsk peace agreement, Ukraine was expected to strengthen locally elected bodies and make election procedures more transparent. It is also publicly seen as a chance to sweep away more discredited local elites installed during Viktor Yanukovych’s presidency.
Parliament failed, however, to create open-list voting for parties, which could also have contributed to filtering out discredited politicians.
Instead, single-mandate districts were created for regional and city councils, which require voting for an individual candidate belonging to a party, according to an emailed Concorde Capital note on July 15. “But if the candidate’s party fails to pass the voting threshold in a given election district (or region), the candidate can’t take office, regardless if he or she has won the most votes,” the investment bank wrote.
Full Article: Critics say new election law doesn’t advance democracy.