Saturday, December 25, 2004

Court decision would void both election law amendments and constitutional reform

It looks like the question before the Constitutional court was not the original Supreme Court ruling as I originally reported but was the constitutionality of the laws and amendments agreed to by Kuchma and voted on by the Rada. Court decision would void both election law amendments and constitutional reform:

If the Constitutional Court decides that there are discrepancies in the amendments to electoral law, the revote on the Dec 26 2004 will be impossible or will lead to illegal voting if it will be even carried out," advocate Oleksiy Reznikov says. Reznikov represented Yushchenko's interests in the Supreme Court of Ukraine during Mikola Katerinchuk's complaint to recognize the Central Election Commission's decision recognizing Viktor Yanukovych the winner of the presidential campaign as illegal.

First of all the amendment, unlike the Law "About elections of the President of Ukraine" establishes a fair way of forming territorial and district election commissions," Reznikov explains. "These territorial and district election commissions are already created and they will be illegal because they are created on the 50/50 basis according to the amendment. "Besides this, Reznikov says there are more technical barriers for carrying out the revote on the Dec 26. For example, the number of absentee ballots is now 0.5% from the total of voters, and the same time according to the Law "About elections of the President of Ukraine" this number is 4%. The extra absentee ballots will not be printed.

As LIGABusinessInform reports in the advocate's press-service, Reznikov thinks that the Constitutional Court decision on the special Law would make the other laws which were adopted together with it illegal as well and first of all will make illegal the Law of Ukraine "About carrying in changes into the Constitution of Ukraine."

It was reported this morning that the Constitutional Court declared the limitation in home voting to be unconstitutional. (That is where a significant number of abuses happened.) If the voting goes ahead as it is without the extensive home voting the court seems to favor, that might allow the argument that the election was illegal.

This court might be trying to stand up for the Constitution and they might really be basing their decision on the rule of law. But I just can't get this picture out of my head of Yanukovych finally finding the last bastion of his cronies in the government in the one place that would do him some good. It may be a picture that is unfair but I know hundreds of thousands of others who will have that same picture in their heads. And they are much more emotionally tied to the outcome of this than I am.

Constitutions and the institutions they create have to survive to be the basis for any government or rule of law. If they do not survive here, the court can take solace in the fact that they stood on principle while people pick through the rubble looking for their friends and family. What an extremely foolish bunch of people. They just might have sewn some uncertainty back into the whole situation and, with things as they stand, that is not a good thing.

UPDATE: More on the decision today here.

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