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For a long time, Ukraine has been talking about the renewal of the Central Election Commission. Back in March 2015, the Prime Minister Groysman said at a press conference that "work on updating the composition of the commission is underway." Later, the first lists of candidates for the CEC membership appeared. The deputies were asked to reassign the current head of the commission, Mykhailo Okhendovsky, and his long-standing deputy, Andriy Magera. In June 2016, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko even submitted 11 candidates to the parliament for the posts of CEC members. However, the issue of rotation of the commission was not even included in the agenda.
The stumbling block became different approaches to updating the composition of the commission. People's Front insisted that Andriy Magera should remain in the CEC, but the Presidential Administration did not take this idea into account. Also, the current deputy, Mykhailo Okhendovsky was called one of the contenders for the chairman’s post.
In addition, not all parliamentary factions were represented in the list of candidates proposed by the President of Ukraine, most candidates were considered close to Bankova, which significantly reduced their chances of passing through the sieve of this supreme legislative body. Some people on the sidelines of the parliament persuade that composition of the CEC to be preserved until 2019, because "there is no reason to change the proven fighters."
However, the situation has changed with the beginning of the new session. Monday, February 5, the President Poroshenko introduced to the parliament an updated list of the CEC candidates. Unlike the list of the version of 2016, the current list contains some candidates, associated with Vidrodzhennya (Alla Basalaeva) and People’s Will (Tetiana Slipachuk), and Radical Party (Tetiana Yuzkova). In addition, a candidate from the faction "Fatherland" (Andriy Evstigneev) also appeared there. However, the other candidates' majority belong to Popular Front and Bloc of Petro Poroshenko. In accordance with the law, applicants must undergo a special examination, which, according to the law, lasts up to 20 days.
Deputies from the coalition factions say that the candidates from Vidrodzhennya and People’s Will appeared in the "Poroshenko’s list" in exchange for a vote for the renewal of the Central Election Commission.
Deputies from the coalition factions are convinced that candidate from the Fatherland is owing to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, which highlighted the need to ensure "the representation of all parliamentary political forces."
About a year ago, Fatherland has offered its own candidate. It happened after lobbying the amendment, according to which "the renewal of the CEC should take into account the interests of all parliamentary factions." "The PACE resolution is just a recommendation, but we cannot ignore it when, for example, we try to prevent the return of the Russian delegation," the parliamentarians explained.
That is why a person from the "Opposition block" will appear in the list of candidates for the CEC members. According to president’s representative in the parliament, Iryna Lutsenko, the oppositionists offered three candidates, including People's Deputy of previous convocations Vladyslav Zabarsky, a former representative of the Party of Regions in the Central Election Commission.
As the polled deputies from coalition factions note, "there are enough votes for the list of candidates submitted to Poroshenko's parliament, especially since the ambassadors (of the EU member states, - 112.ua) have long promised to update the composition of the Central Election Commission."
“The list includes 15 candidates, however, there are 13 vacancies,” parliamentarians say, noting that negotiations on this issue would be held after the return of all interested persons from Washington, (where they are expected to participate in the prayer breakfast).
As expected, the representative of Bloc of Petro Poroshenko would become CEC chairman. The parliamentarians polled by us predict that "most likely, it will be Svitlana Kustova," although, according to media reports, the People's Front advocated the appointment of the current Deputy Minister of Justice, Natalya Bernatska, to this post. Kustova previously defended the interests of Viktor Yushchenko, when he ran for a president.
So, the operation "reset the CEC" has entered a crucial phase. In the coming weeks, we expect to learn the names of two superfluous applicants and see an updated commission.