The President of Ukraine Viktor Yushchenko appealed to the Constitutional Court of Ukraine on Monday, 14 October 2009, to examine the compliance of some clauses of the Law of Ukraine on the amendments to the Law on Presidential Elections (recently adopted by Parliament) with the Constitution of Ukraine. A lot of experts predict it may cause the disruption of the Presidential election, scheduled for the beginning of 2010.
If the Constitutional Court declares that some provisions of the law are unconstitutional, the Presidential election of January 2010 will be put in jeopardy – for sure. Parliament will definitely fail to pass the amendmends to the Law (due to the requirements of the Court) before the official starting date of the presidential race – 19 October 2009. Then it will be easy to question any result of the vote if it happens on 17 January: as the election was organize according to the “old”, unconstitutional version of the law. The only way to stay within the frames of a Fundamental law of the country will be to schedule a new date for the presidential election, extending the term of office of Viktor Yushchenko.
The Speaker of the parliament of Ukraine Volodymyr Lytvyn has recently said that he is ‘convinced that there are reasons for the Constitutional Court to define some clauses of the law as unconstitutional’. He thinks it may cause a political turbulence and lengthy court battles over the election, making the situation ‘disorganized’.
The “new version” of the Law of Ukraine ‘On Presidential Elections’, in particular, reduced the time of presidential campaign from 120 to 90 days. It also allowed adding people to voter lists on the day of election (as the clear and trustable Voter Registry has not been formed in Ukraine yet), and prohibited to vote for Ukrainians living overseas, if they are not included to the Consular register (these legislative innovations are mentioned in the President’s application as one may cause a huge fraud, and another restricts the citizens’ universal right to vote).
Pre-history: On July 24, 2009 the Parliament of Ukraine passed a bill amending the Law on Presidential Elections. On 18 August Viktor Yushchenko vetoed the proposed amendments on the Law on Presidential Elections. But the Parliament convened a special session on August 21, when 325 out of 371 members of parliament override the president's veto.
The presidential election is scheduled for January 17, 2010. If required a second round ballot is expected to take place in February 2010. The President of Ukraine is elected by the citizens of Ukraine for a five-year term, on the basis of universal, equal and direct suffrage, by secret ballot.