“Venetian” urgently reviewed the Ukrainian law on referendum

"Венецианка" срочно рассмотрела украинский закон о референдуме

The Venice Commission adopted the “urgent General conclusion” on the draft law on the nationwide referendum (No. 3612).

About it reported in a press-service of the Council of Europe.

On 18 June, the Verkhovna Rada supported in the first reading the presidential bill on national referendum with the need for its revision for the second reading.

In the document of the Venice Commission noted that the bill addresses some problems that have in the past been the subject of critical observations.

“Among other issues, the developers agreed on a bill with other parts of the electoral legislation, in particular with the new Electoral code adopted in 2019, and with the law on the Central election Commission, and included detailed procedures aimed at ensuring equal campaign opportunities for supporters and opponents of the issues put to a national referendum. It should be commended,” – said in the conclusion.

It is noted that the draft law is a significant step forward compared to bill 2012.

However are a few items that can be improved in the text or require further clarification.

It is recommended to clarify the relationship between popular referendum initiatives to repeal the laws or parts of laws, and a referendum on “issues of national importance”;

  • the procedure of the popular initiative of the referendum should include the role of Parliament before the vote, and, if necessary, after the vote, and in accordance with the results; the effect of approval of the popular initiative must be defined in the law;
  • it is necessary to introduce additional provisions aimed at ensuring equal opportunities for supporters and opponents of the issues submitted to referendum according to the referendum commissions at different levels;
  • it is recommended to extend the period of collecting signatures for a referendum on popular initiative;
  • it is recommended to check all signatures;
  • it is recommended to harmonize the draft law of the electoral law to further strengthen mechanisms for availability of referenda for persons with disabilities and the creation of mechanisms that will practically contribute to the effective and meaningful implementation of the electoral rights of internally displaced persons;
  • you should consider synchronization of the provisions of the bill on the financing of referendum campaign, the law on financing of political parties;
  • it is recommended that the provision on electronic voting have been eliminated from the bill was later settled by a separate law, which also concerns local, parliamentary and presidential elections;
  • restrictions and prohibitions on campaign events should be reviewed;
  • the bill should contain a specific article on helpful and effective sanctions against violations against the media.

Urgent insights are taken outside the four plenary meetings of the Venice Commission. For example, if the opinion is necessary before a future referendum or debate in Parliament, it may be entered as “Express opinions” outside the period of formal plenary meetings, to the power in question, could use the expertise of the Venice Commission.

Such conclusions are generally formally “approved” at the next plenary meeting. The next session, “Venetian” is scheduled for 8-9 October.

The Verkhovna Rada