The Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine's parliament, has on Monday amended the law on the election of deputies of the Verkhovna Rada of Crimea, local councils, and mayors of villages, towns and cities, which was adopted by parliament on July 5, UKRINFORM reported.

The bill authored by Party of Regions MP Oleksandr Yefremov saw 264 votes in favor, while alternative documents from the opposition Bloc of Yulia Tymoshenko (BYuT) and Our Ukraine People's Self-Defense (OUPSD) did not gain the necessary votes.

The law removed a rule prohibiting parties and their local cells that were registered less than 365 days before the election day to nominate candidates in local elections on October 31.

Another controversial point that was edited in the law refers to territorial election commissions. Their composition is increased to 18 persons (from 15). However, 15 members of territorial election commissions will still be the candidates from the local organizations of the parliamentary parties, and only three places will be drawn among local non-parliamentary party organizations.

As expected, the opposition criticized the new version of the law "by the Party of Regions". According to Serhiy Sobolev, deputy head of the BYuT faction and prime minister of the shadow cabinet, the law on local elections "has nothing to do with democracy and transparency". According to him, the main problem of this bill is that "the procedure for the formation of territorial election commissions is now completely unclear, therefore they are able to falsify the election results."

The leader of the parliamentary group "For Ukraine!", Viacheslav Kyrylenko, also warns of the possibility of fraud during the vote count. He explains that the coalition will have the majority in territorial election commissions, likewise the constituency election commissions. "Thus, the local election campaign will not look like a competition of political platforms and programs, but just the procedure of vote count in favor of the coalition.

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