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Parliamentary Elections 2002
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Parliamentary Elections 2004
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    2002 Parliamentary Elections

    RCC Primer: Elections to the Verkhovna Rada

    Elections to the Parliament of Ukraine on March 31 will be held according to the rules of a "mixed electoral system." There are two components to this mix: direct and proportional representation.

    The Rada is comprised of 450 MPs. Half of the Rada (225 MPs) will be elected according to party and electoral bloc lists in a single, nationwide electoral district (proportional representation). The other 225 will be elected from lists of candidates in 225 electoral districts (direct representation).

    Accordingly, voters will be presented with two ballots for the elections to the Rada. On one ballot they will select from among a list of individuals running for office from that district. On the other ballot, voters will select from among a list of political parties and electoral blocs.

    I. Proportional representation

    This ballot will contain a list of 34 parties and blocs, plus a "none of the above" option. The ballot is identical across the nation, and lists the top five candidates for each party and bloc. Half of the parliament's seats (225 MPs) will be filled according to the results of this ballot.

    Only those parties or blocs that receive 4% or more of the total popular vote qualify for parliamentary seats. (Four percent translates approximately into 1 million votes.) Votes cast for parties that fail to cross the 4% barrier do not count towards the final distribution of Rada seats. Rather, these votes go towards distributing a "bonus" for the parties and blocs that score higher than 4%.

    The Bonus: An example

    In 1998, the Communist Party won just under 25% percent of the total popular vote. At first glance, 25% of 225 equal 57 seats. After the final tally however, the Communists were allotted 37% of the seats (or 84 MPs).

    This 27 seat bonus resulted from the fact that 22 parties failed to cross the 4% barrier. In total, the "below 4%" parties accounted for 26% of the total popular vote (6.8 million votes). Those votes, together with the "none of the above," do not count towards the final distribution of seats.

    Using the elections of 1998 as an example, the total popular vote was distributed as follows (numbers are rounded off):

    • 66% for parties that crossed the 4% barrier (8 parties/blocs)
    • 26% for parties that failed to cross the 4% barrier (22 parties/blocs)
    • 8% against all parties and blocs (the "none of the above" option)

    Thus, 66% became the base 100% for calculating each party's share of all 225 seats.

    Therefore, a simple formula for calculating the number of seats in 1998 was: [(% of popular vote) multiplied by 225] divided by 66.

    In this way, the bonus is divided up proportionally by all of the parties that cross the 4% barrier.

    Thus, the size of the bonus is a very significant factor in the final distribution of 225 proportional representation seats. Noteworthy is, that this system takes a citizen's vote and gives it to a party or electoral bloc for which the voter did not intend.

    II. Direct representation

    Voters will also have to choose a specific candidate to directly represent their district in parliament. There are 225 districts. Accordingly, 225 MPs will be elected by a simple majority.

    This second ballot is comprised of an alphabetical list of candidates vying for a parliamentary seat. Brief biographies (year of birth, employment, etc.) and party affiliation are specified on the ballot.

    On average for these elections, 18 candidates are named on each ballot. In 1998, the former Soviet electoral procedure of crossing off all of the candidates, except for one, was replaced by the far simpler method of checking the box next to the name of one candidate. Ballots completed in the old system are deemed spoiled.

    Typically MPs elected according to single mandate constituencies join their colleagues, elected according to party lists, to form parliamentary factions.

    Looking back to 1998, the Communists' core group of 84 MPs was joined by an additional 40 MPs elected in single mandate constituencies. The largest group of directly elected MPs to join a single faction was 71. The pro-presidential People's Democratic Party (NDP) originally had 17 MPs elected according to its party list. That faction grew to 88 members within 5 months of the elections.

    Under this current system, parties and blocs are forced to double their efforts: on the national level, they work at promoting the respective party or bloc. On the local level, the parties and blocs need to find suitable candidates to represent them in the single-mandate constituencies. Currently, the consensus among Ukraine's political elite seems to be an eventual graduation to a strictly proportional model (party / bloc lists) for parliamentary elections. That, however, is currently perceived as a threat to the current administration, and the move has been postponed until future elections.


    The above was provided by
    RCC Political Review
    RCC Political Review


    About RCC Political Review

    RCC Political Review is a new information product devoted to reporting and analyzing political developments in Ukraine. It is currently distributed free-of-charge in electronic format as an e-mail message and A-4 format Word document. Materials published in RCC Political Review may only be reproduced with the consent of the Editorial Board. Upon reproduction, citing and crediting RCC is mandatory.

    To find out more about RCC's research, analysis, writing and reporting services, please contact our new Ukraine office. RCC's new Ukraine office is located at 25/40 Ivana Franka, Suite 20 in Kyiv, Ukraine, 01030. Call us at + 380 (44) 223-63-63, or contact us via e-mail - info@rccpr.com.ua to find out how you can put RCC's experience, know-how and resources to work for you.

    RCC Political Review is produced by the Editorial Board:

    Stephen Bandera, Yarema Bachynsky, Mark Suprun, Lubomyr Kwasnycia, Jerry Dutkewych and Basil Danchuk.

    RCC - the most experienced Western communications firm working in Ukraine.


     

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