Drawing from the general consensus that providing IDPs with the right to vote is essential for successful integration, the Congress rapporteurs call on the Ukrainian authorities to take the necessary legislative measures, in particular in view of the next local election in 2020, to make IDPs’ participation in the electoral process a reality.
As a first concrete step, the Parliament of Ukraine should pass the draft Law No. 6240 in order to remove the existing barriers for IDPs’ full participation in elections, in line with international standards. “The long-awaited adoption of this draft law would simplify voter registration procedures and enable all Ukrainian citizens to register to vote at their actual place of residence,” said Congress Rapporteur Jos WIENEN (Netherlands, EPP/CCE) at a Conference organised today in Kyiv on voting rights of internally displaced persons at local level in Ukraine.
Besides legislation, there is also a need for better voter education and information for IDPs, ensuring quality voters’ lists and providing training for electoral authorities.
The Conference was also the occasion to share good practices from Georgia and Bosnia and Herzegovina and to address concerns expressed by local representatives over risks of election fraud, manipulation or pressure by underlining the existence of safeguards and tools to prevent abuse.
In a broader context, the participants also touched upon the issue of other groups of voters, such as migrant workers and students who are not residing in places where they are permanently registered, and thus disenfranchised. These groups, together with IDPs, face also continued obstacles to vote in the parliamentary as well as in the upcoming presidential elections. « Addressing all these problems would be of concrete benefit not only to those deprived of their voting rights but to Ukraine and its further democratic consolidation », concluded Congress Vice-President Barbara TOCE (Italy, SOC).
Representatives of Government, members of Parliament, the Central Election Commission, local and regional authorities, local NGOs, as well as national and international experts took part in the discussions together with Congress members.