Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky has voiced his plans to dissolve the Central Election Commission (CEC). The reason for such a decision is the political bias of the body.
The news of the dissolution caused a great resonance in Ukrainian society. Some believe that such actions are completely legal, while others argue that there are no objective grounds for it. But first things first.
Zelensky - CEC conflict
September 9, Volodymyr Zelensky sent a statement on the early termination of the powers of Ukraine’s CEC to the Parliament.
“The motivation for this submission can be conditionally divided into four blocks. The first part concerns the decisions, actions or inaction of the Central Election Commission regarding the registration of candidates for MPs of Ukraine. During the registration, the CEC was biased and acted contrary to the principles established by the electoral law,” Alina Zagoruyko, Deputy Chairman of the Committee on the Organization of State Power, MP from the Servant of the People faction, noted.
28 decisions of the Central Election Commission were annulled by the courts, and the actions of the CEC were declared unlawful. According to Zagoruyko, there are some biased and biased approach of the CEC regarding the determination of information in the autobiography of candidates.
On September 10, Zelensky’s submission was submitted to the Committee for Organization of State Power and Local Self-Government for consideration. And on September 11, the committee recommended that the parliament dissolve the CEC prematurely.
According to the Law "On the Central Election Commission," the parliament appoints and dismisses the CEC members on the proposal of the President of Ukraine. The commission consists of 17 people. Possible commission members are previously discussed by the factions and are appointed by the relevant profile committee.
Chairman of the commission, two deputy chairmen, and the secretary of the commission are elected. The CEC members stay in office for seven years. By the way, the previous composition of the CEC was approved on September 20, 2018.
The powers of the entire composition of the Commission might be prematurely terminated by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine on the basis of a reasoned proposal by the President of Ukraine. 300 votes are needed to approve the decision.
The CEC representative said that the beginning of the process of early termination of its powers would entail the political responsibility of the President and the parliament.
“If we consider the beginning of the process of early termination of powers of the entire CEC as a political step or a politically motivated decision, we emphasize that such actions bear the political responsibility of both the president and the Verkhovna Rada. The commission is ready to make such a decision," reads the CEC statement.
Aliona Shkrum, the representative of the Batkivshchyna faction, asked Ruslan Stefanchuk, the first vice speaker of the Rada, to comment on the reasonability of all the allegations. He has replied that everyone personally determines the degree of validity for himself, and personally he considers president’s claims as reasonable.
Igor Guz, a member of the For the Future group, recalled that not a single international organization criticized the work of the CEC in the last two elections, and accused the Servants of the People of “taking control of all power structures.”
In turn, the Committee of Voters of Ukraine believes that there are no objective reasons for dismissing CEC members.
"Everything is legal, and the president can do it. Now the question is whether they get 300 votes, but this is a matter of agreement. Another thing is that with such a powerful concentration of power, the president’s team would also have its own CEC, especially considering that the local elections would take place in 2020," Oleksandr Moskalyuk, constitutional law expert, commented.
According to some sources, the vote on the dissolution of the CEC might take place on Thursday, September 12. In order to dismiss the current composition of the Central Election Commission, 300 votes are needed.
Oleksandr Kachura, MP from the Servant of the People, said that the parliament would not delay the submission of the new CEC candidates.
“We must choose a new composition of the CEC within two weeks. Until October, I think there will be a 100% new CEC,” he noted.
At the same time, they do not exclude that elections in several large cities, including Kyiv, might be held in the coming months.