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June 3, 2016, President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko said that after consulting with the leaders of the factions, he submitted a list of candidates for the positions of members of the Central Election Commission (CEC) to the parliament. It seemed that the issue was already done, and finally, new people would come to replace the old ones. Two years have passed, but the cart remains there still. In addition to the list of names published by Speaker Andriy Parubiy, there was no serious progress in this matter. Our sources in the coalition faction believe that the rotation in the CEC is likely to be postponed until the fall.
As early as 2014, contracts of 12 out of 15 CEC members have expired. In 2017, the number of "overdue" CEC members increased to 13, but thanks to changes introduced in the legislation, the commission continued its work.
The first real attempt to update the composition of the Central Election Commission took place in the summer of 2016. However, then no one noted for the list, submitted by the president Poroshenko, because the factions could not share the quotas in the new composition of the commission, as well as the position of chairman.
The second call started in January this year. During the meeting with Speaker Parubiy, Poroshenko signed a letter on the dismissal of the CEC members and the appointment of the new ones. There were 13 applicants in the original list. After a while, the fourteenth surname appeared from the "Fatherland" faction, but the representatives of the "Opposition Bloc" faction were not included. As the representative of the president in the parliament Iryna Lutsenko explained, this happened, as the party representatives submitted several candidacies for the post of CEC member, although they had to file one person.
April 16, at the meeting of the Conciliation Council of Parliament, the issue of updating the Central Election Commission has raised again. Speaker Parubiy said at a briefing following the meeting of the Conciliation Council that the issue of updating the commission would be discussed on April 19.
April 17, the President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko called the leaders of the factions on Bankova, where they were supposed to dot the "i" in the issue of rotation of the commission. However, it did not happen.
"National Front" decided to raise rates and claimed about a desire to take the office of the CEC chairman. They raised the issue and changes in Poroshenko's list. The president said that since the quota of "National Front" is bigger than planned, the candidate from the "Fatherland" should be removed from the list," one of the participants in the meeting at Bankova told 112.ua, adding that the parties could not reach a compromise.
There are 14 candidates on the list, while there are only 13 vacancies in the CEC.
Despite all disagreements, the Parliament's profile committee on legal policy and justice recommended the parliament to vote for the list of commission members proposed by the president. And the head of Poroshenko’s faction Artur Gerasimov stated about voting for the appointment of CEC members on April 19. But April 19, the final decision was taken that there will be no voting for the appointment of a new composition of the Central Election Commission.
"They have decided to postpone consideration of the CEC members appointment since the National Front faction is against it. They are afraid that the commission's renewal would become a trigger for early parliamentary elections," our sources in Poroshenko’s faction say.
In turn, one of the deputies from the National Front explains that the refusal to vote for the list of CEC candidates is connected with the PACE resolution.
"The issue has remained in the quiver, as there is the PACE resolution, according to which all factions and groups should be represented in the CEC. If we ignore it, then we risk receiving sanctions similar to those in Russia," the parliamentarian explained. The hint is clear: neither Poroshenko’s faction nor the National Front want to reduce their quota in the CEC, and in this situation, a nominee from Fatherland Andriy Yevstigneyev might be excluded.
Fatherland also admits that the renewal of the CEC could become a trigger for re-elections. "There are several lines of defense of power: the resignation of PM Groysman, the renewal of the CEC. If Bankova succeeds in doing both, then the likelihood of re-election will increase significantly," said one of the deputies from the Fatherland faction.
Many deputies from different factions are inclined to think that the CEC issue would be postponed until the fall. Then the problem of early elections would not be relevant, which means that it would be easier to find consensus.
It should be noted that in accordance with the Constitution, the parliament elected in the early parliamentary elections cannot be dissolved within the last six months of the authority of the Verkhovna Rada or the president of Ukraine. And the presidential elections are scheduled for March 2019.
This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or 112.International and its owners.