The Venice Commission has adopted an “urgent joint opinion” with ODIHR (the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights) on Ukraine’s Draft Law 3612 concerning Democracy Through All-Ukraine Referendum. The opinion, requested in May by the Speaker of the Verkhovna Rada (Ukraine’s parliament), was adopted on 21 July, ahead of the next Venice Commission plenary session, given the need for legal expertise before possible passage in parliament.
The joint opinion welcomes Ukraine’s efforts to amend its legal and institutional framework relating to national referendums and to bring it into compliance with relevant standards as well as good practices. “The transparent and inclusive character of the drafting process should be praised”, according to the opinion. The text also addresses some problems that had been subject to critical remarks from ODIHR and the Venice Commission in the past. However, the opinion also specifies several issues that “could be improved” in the text or would need further clarification.