New election rules: How will it happen?

Фото: New election rules: How will it happen?

Верховна Рада внесла зміни до Виборчого кодексу. Цьому передувала адміністративна реформа – істотне укрупнення громад і районів. Унаслідок реформи кількість депутатів значно скоротиться, а отже – зросте конкуренція. 

Кандидати зможуть балотуватися щонайбільше до двох рад одночасно, хоча раніше могли змагатися одразу за 4 мандати. 

Для кожного кандидата чи кандидатки обов’язковою буде застава. Найбільше проблем із заставою матимуть самовисуванці, тому що в них ще немає виборчих рахунків, а заставу потрібно внести до реєстрації. Законотворці не додумалися владнати це питання.

Рух ЧЕСНО підготував огляд найсуттєвіших змін, аби пояснити виборцям і місцевим політикам, за якими правилами відбудуться вибори восени 2020 року.

At local elections, you elect council members and mayors. They are the ones who manage the community’s non-renewable resource, its land, with the majority of votes. In addition, the politicians allocate our taxes (budget) to fund health care, education, transportation—or benches, parks, etc. Local councilors decide where high-rises will be built and where private houses or green zones will be located instead. The council should approve the strategic course of city development for the next not even 5, but 20 years.

Why should you vote on October 25?

On this day, you delegate your representative powers for 5 years, and you should understand what kind of programs the candidates present and if they’re capable of implementing them. When you’re picking a car or a lawyer for selling your apartment, you carefully check all the papers and study the issue in detail. You want to have a safe car with a balanced value for its price, and you prefer a lawyer whom you can trust with your property deed and personal information. In the case of politicians and parties, you should examine their platforms and check if the candidates are capable of fulfilling their commitments, instead of blindly trusting unmeasurable promises and populism from the billboards. “I am not political” is a weak stance of someone who doesn’t want to take responsibility and decide how they will live as a citizen from now on.

A significant fraction of politicians want to be in power in order to have control over resources in the next 5 years. Councilors who own businesses are prepared to spend budget money on buckwheat packs, Easter cakes, or to take voters on a free boat ride at their own expense, so that they don’t ask about platforms or commitments and re-elect them to the council. Then these politicians will be able to distribute our resources in their own interests. If a community votes for “buckwheat,” it will lose the opportunity to properly develop its education, health care, public transit and so on for 5 years.

The worst thing is that turnout in local elections is traditionally lower than in parliamentary or presidential ones. But the results of local elections are what determines the urban landscape, tap water quality, the number of available places in kindergartens and schools, transit connections, etc. That is, the things all of us use every day.

The new rules

You should also understand the new election rules to know how your votes will be distributed. You will choose a party and write the number of the candidate the way you used to write the index on an envelope when sending a letter by traditional mail. Each voter chooses ONE party (makes a mark), and then chooses ONE candidate number from that party’s list, which he or she writes in the index format, as you can see in the photo.

Who can pass the 5% threshold?

Only the parties which win 5% of votes get into the city council. In the last election, 5 parties passed the electoral threshold. In this election, there can be 8. Researchers from Rating report that the leading position belongs to UDAR, which gets almost 29%. European Solidarity is supported by 14%. Servant of the People’s rating in the capital in the past month has shrunk almost by half and does not exceed 11% at the moment. Palchevsky’s Victory can get almost 7%, as well as the Opposition Platform—For Life. The Voice party has grown to 6.5%, and now it’s ahead of the Fatherland, which has 6.4%. As for the Strength and Honor, it’s on the edge of the threshold with 5.5%. The survey was conducted on August 31 and September 1. 1,200 respondents participated in it, and the margin of error is no more than 2.8%.

In the last election, the parties that passed the threshold got about 550,000 votes from Kyiv residents together. That is, one mandate was equal to about 4,800 votes. This could be the approximate election quota per 1 mandate.

The parties with higher ratings—UDAR, ES—have a chance to get the first numbers of their “district” lists into the council. Essentially, all the numbers below them will “pitch their votes in” for the first numbers in the districts. Political forces with lower ratings are more likely to bring in those who have the first ten places on the general list. The parties planned the placement of their passing and non-passing candidates based on their ratings: whether they should put them on the first positions in the districts or include them in the top ten of the general list.

Each of the candidates who run with a party which passes the 5% threshold can become a councilor regardless of their place on the general or the district list. To do this, they should win approximately 25% of the election quota—that is, about 1,200 votes.

To compare it with the previous election’s results, all councilors from the BPP faction in the Kyiv Council met the election quota and got over 25% of the vote. This is related to the fact that after the Revolution of Dignity, Solidarity had a high voter support. Moreover, the party itself ran together with UDAR at that time. As for the political forces with lower ratings, such as the Fatherland, it was very difficult for their candidates to pass the election quota under those conditions. Only 5 of the 17 candidates won more than 1,200 votes in 2015. So candidates from parties which pass the election threshold but don’t have sufficiently high ratings mostly have to rely on the passing places on the list, in the top five or ten.

So voters should inquire who runs in the top ten of the general list, and who is in first places in districts. The quality of the future council depends on the turnout. Those who vote for “buckwheat” always go to vote. The other 50% don’t vote, and then complain for five years that “nothing is changing.”