The Venice Commission of the Council of Europe has assessed the bill on an all-Ukrainian referendum submitted by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. The press service of the Council of Europe reported that.
The Commission adopted an “urgent general conclusion” and noted that the document represents a significant step forward from the 2012 bill. At the conclusion of the commission, the bill was coordinated with other parts of the electoral legislation, in particular with the Election Code of 2019 and the law on the Central Election Commission. Also, detailed mechanisms were added to the draft, which should provide equal campaigning opportunities for supporters and opponents of the issues at the all-Ukrainian referendum.
In addition, the commission gave several recommendations for improving the draft law:
- it is recommended to clarify the connection between a referendum of popular initiatives to repeal laws or parts of laws and a referendum to "resolve issues of national importance";
- the procedure for holding a popular initiative referendum should provide for the role of parliament before voting, as well as, if necessary, after voting and according to the results;
- the consequences of adopting a popular initiative must be defined in law;
- it is necessary to introduce additional provisions aimed at ensuring equal opportunities for supporters and opponents of issues submitted to the referendum regarding referendum commissions of different levels;
- it is recommended to extend the deadline for collecting signatures at referenda on popular initiative;
- it is recommended to check all signatures;
- it was recommended to synchronize the draft law with the electoral legislation to strengthen mechanisms for the accessibility of referendums for people with disabilities and create mechanisms that will contribute to the effective and meaningful implementation of the voting rights of internally displaced persons;
- consideration should be given to synchronizing the provisions of the referendum campaign finance bill with the political party financing legislation;
- it is recommended that the provisions on e-voting be removed from the draft law and later regulated by a separate law covering local, parliamentary and presidential elections;
- restrictions and prohibitions on campaigning should be reviewed;
- the bill should contain specific articles on preventive and effective sanctions for violations against the media