Pathways to evolving Ukraine’s parliamentary elections International Centre for Policy Studies


НазваPathways to evolving Ukraine’s parliamentary elections International Centre for Policy Studies
Дата конвертації15.04.2013
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ТипПрезентации


Pathways to evolving Ukraine’s parliamentary elections

  • International Centre for Policy Studies

  • Kyiv, 13 February 2008


Presentation plan

  • How Ukraine’s electoral system evolved over 1990–2007 and the consequences

  • Key directions for further development

  • Questions for discussion



How Ukraine’s electoral system evolved over 1990–2007 and the consequences



Milestones

  • Elections in 1990 and 1994: simple majority system

  • Elections in 1998 and 2002: mixed (parallel) system

    • 225 deputies elected on a simple majority (first-past-the-post) basis
    • 225 deputies elected on a proportional (party lists) basis with a 4% threshold
  • Elections in 2006 and 2007: proportional system with nationwide closed party lists (3% threshold)



Political parties grow stronger

  • Parties become the main political unit:

    • Big Business, regional leaders and influential interest groups engage actively in the process of party-building
    • The country’s top leaders now have to take party interests into account
  • Party leaders extend their power: they now determine who gets on party lists and, thus, who gets into the Verkhovna Rada



The structuring of the Rada

  • 1998 – 2007:

  • The number of parties and blocs represented in the legislature goes from 8 to 5

  • The number of Rada factions falls from 14 to 5

  • The number of independents drops from 49 to 0



Vote manipulation loses effectiveness

  • A first-past-the-post (majority) system gives more bang for the manipulative buck:

  • In a majority system, all votes that go other than to the frontrunner are effectively wasted. A small amount of manipulation or ballot-stuffing can affect the outcome.

  • In a proportional system, minor manipulations have a limited effect because votes are only wasted on parties below the threshold (3%)



Greater fairness and transparency of results

  • The majority system: all votes other than for the frontrunner are effectively wasted

  • The mixed system in 1998 and 2002 elections: since the winners of the majority and proportional votes were different, who actually won?

  • The proportional system in 2006 and 2007 elections: the preferences of 78–89% of voters are reflected in the outcome



New problems emerge

  • Political parties remain undemocratic in nature:

  • Opaque financing based on powerful corporate donors

  • No grassroots membership, “closed clubs”

  • Decisions are made only by the leadership and not openly

  • Ordinary party members have little influence over party line

  • The gap between voters and deputies has grown



What’s wrong with the current system?

  • Voters have no input into party lists and, thus, deputies

  • Parties are opaque about selecting candidates

  • There is suspicion of political corruption within parties

  • Regional political leaders are unevenly represented

  • Deputies in the Rada are not being rotated

  • Changes to the electoral system should encourage democratization within the parties themselves



Key directions for further development



The proportional system should be improved

  • The proportional system is more just than the majority system

  • The party system is still too weak to return to a majority system

  • Dropping the proportional system is unrealistic: the major parties and their leaders won’t go for it



What kinds of changes are needed?

  • Mixing the proportional and majority systems, but using the proportional principle in counting votes

  • Opening lists

  • Instituting regional electoral districts



A mixed, linked system

  • The voter has two votes: one for the (closed) party list and one for a specific electoral district

  • Votes for party lists have the upper hand in counting ballots:

    • Whether or not a party gains seats in the Rada is determined according to the proportional votes
    • The number of seats a party gains in the specific electoral district is based on the number of seats it gained through the party list vote
    • Any surplus is used to add deputies from the regions or from the party lists


The implications of a mixed, linked system

  • Impact on the party system is not particularly different from that of a purely proportional system

  • Smaller parties stand a better chance of gaining seats without fragmenting the legislature

  • The link between voters and representatives is restored

  • Parties begin to develop at the regional level

  • For voters, the system is somewhat complicated, as is counting votes and converting them to seats



A mixed, linked system: issues for Ukraine

  • How will Ukrainian voters respond to such a complicated system? How much will they trust it?

  • How will such a system improve representation from the regions?

  • What level should the threshold be? Will an alternate threshold be needed?

  • How successfully can Ukraine institute a linked electoral system involving both party lists and a single electoral district?



Opening up party lists

  • Partly open lists: voters can cast a ballot for one or more candidates on a party’s list

  • Open lists: voters can rank all the candidates on a party’s list and/or vote for candidates from different parties

  • In major countries, the opening of party lists has generally been simultaneous with the introduction of regional electoral districts



The implications of open lists

  • Party leadership has less opportunity to manipulate during the formation of party lists

  • Intra-party competition grows stronger

  • Accountability before voters becomes greater

  • Greater internal democratization weakens parties

  • Parties become decentralized and more fragmented

  • Open lists complicate the electoral system



Open lists: issues for Ukraine

  • What is the risk that open lists will lead to the breakdown and break-up of the main parties? that political accountability will actually go down?

  • What will happen to the party system once lists are open?

  • How should this model be designed in order to have an immediate effect while avoiding unnecessary complications?



Regional electoral districts

  • The country is broken up into several districts, with each one having a certain number of seats

  • Regional lists can be open or closed

  • The main questions are, how many regional districts there should be and how many seats each of them should have.



The implications of regional electoral districts

  • Candidates become more sensitive to regional issues

  • Open regional lists leads to selecting the “crème de la crème”

  • Having more electoral districts distorts voting results, compared to a single district

  • With more districts, the natural threshold becomes higher

  • Having more districts means that smaller parties are less likely to pass the threshold

  • Parties campaign only in those regions where they are strong



Regional districts based on current territorial divisions

  • # of seats per electoral district: from 4 (Sevastopol) to 44 (Donetsk Oblast)

  • Natural threshold: from 2.28% (Donetsk Oblast) to 26.75% (Sevastopol)

  • In 2007, this would have meant that PR and BYT would likely have had more seats, NU–NS about the same, while CPU and VLB would have had fewer



Regional electoral districts: issues for Ukraine

  • How likely is the institution of regional lists to lead to even greater regionalization among Ukraine’s parties?

  • With such a system in place, how can parties be motivated to expand to all of the country’s regions?

  • If this system is instituted, how can the threat of having regional interests dominate the Verkhovna Rada instead of party interests be mitigated?

  • How likely is a change in this direction, given that the smaller parties currently in the Rada and parties that currently represent small districts are likely to oppose it?



Questions for discussion

  • How should Ukraine’s next electoral system look? Regional lists? Open lists? Mixed and linked?

  • How possible is it to institute regional electoral districts based on the current territorial divisions?

  • How to prevent parties from weakening with the institution of open lists?

  • What is the proper balance between complication and fairness in the new system?

  • Previous evolutionary changes in Ukraine’s electoral legislation tended to happen during political crises. How can such an approach be avoided in the future?



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